Sleep Deprivation by AdEn19

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									Sleep Deprivation
by Aden

Some people go to the extreme of extremes to give themselves something to talk about, or a way to
escape for a while. They’ll manipulate their own bodies in all kinds of ways. Some friends fight each
other and draw blood to feel that rush, each believing they become tough like rocks every time. Other
people hurt others; they’ll ruin lives of strangers while these poor bastards are left wondering “what
the hell just happened to me, and why?” It’s hard to keep away from all that; it’s on the increase.
Doing what I did for the people around me, the kinds of people they were, I saw it and heard about it
all the time. Alcohol can have a huge part to play in all that. But so can drugs, and the human body is
full of those whether you inject or smoke or not. All it takes to get those desired effects of
mindlessness, intense waves of emotions and even hallucinations, is a little tweaking. The truth is, the
body is the biggest drugstore.
          In exactly the same way that some unlucky folk can’t handle smoking a joint or drinking shots
of vodka, some can’t handle meditation. Whichever way you look at it though, it’s all manipulation.
Manipulation and intoxication. And as for me… Well, I’m straightedge now. I don’t need to mess with
myself in those ways, because I know you can be high for the while that you’re stoned or wrapped in
meditation or you can be, as they've come to say, high on life, and then everything’s a rush, even if
you’re boxed up in a prison cell twenty three hours a day for the next four years like I am. You have to
be here and now, there and then, from one second to the next. And that means you can’t live inside
your memories or desires or built up belief systems because none of it is real. The trick is to see with
your eyes and beat with your heart. All else is auxiliary.
          With the introduction done, it’s time for the main reason I'm putting myself through this; the
story of how I landed myself in this jail cell to begin with, and how far some people – in this case
curious and educated kids – will go for a little fun, to satisfy a little baseless curiosity, and just how
corrupt they can become and how far astray they can go in the process.

                                                    X

Weed was my thing. I was the best street seller in the town, except I sold from inside a house and you
could always stay for tea or a smoke if you felt like it. While everyone else weighed theirs up at 1.4, I
weighed mine at 1.7, and while everyone might weigh up at 1 gram, I weighed up at 1.4. It brought a
lot of people to my door. They’d come from the other side of town if they had to, each with their own
stories to tell. And it went for two years, all going well. We handled it; my girlfriend, her son and I.
          Some would just come to ours once or twice or otherwise only on the odd occasion, but, like
with everything social, there were always some who came a lot. Sometimes not even to buy but for
the company and a smoke. We didn’t have television or video games in that house so we formed
circles on the floor, rolled any number of joints and spoke abut anything and everything with all the
different people, from what was going on around us to what was going on everywhere else, and what
was going on inside as we move through time and life. I always imagined that was what it must have
been like in the sixties. I enjoyed it very much; it led me to a lot of new experiences.
          One day a group of lads came to us, three of them. They came everyday after too, always
bringing interesting topics for talk with them. Then they started hanging back from a couple of hours
to four a five each time. It became so regular that we joked about having our own discussion group.
We never battled with what we were talking about, so it never became a group for debate. They
didn’t just smoke either; they bought, treated us too. One day the talk was about lifestyle choices; the
pros and cons of the many different. That one evolved into natural states of living against the many
different ‘altered states of consciousness.’ Now, we couldn’t agree on a definition for natural states of
living but we built a huge list of the many altered states of consciousness: drunk, high, stoned,
depressed, insane, insomniac, religious, meditative, opinionated, you get the picture.
          The youngest of them; Dean, seventeen years, was a drunk religious insomniac. He said he
stayed awake reading from the holy book all night every night as a force of habit, and was an alcoholic
by day; “a rejection of all that boredom-inspired night nonsense.” Religious, but he didn’t have faith.
Everything he did, he said himself, was in one way or another a form of escapism. His motivation for
smoking weed was to escape the thoughts and relax, escape the pressure, escape this and that. No
bad words to him; I’m stating a fact, telling it how he did.
          I found Dean to be a very interesting guy, but only because he was so peculiar. He was tired
but he was never beat by it. The days after those rare nights that he might sleep for an hour or two,
he would not show his face. He said he became silent and reserved, and would bury his attention
under the pages of a book so he wouldn’t have to speak to anyone. When he told me that I felt a
strange extreme discomfort that I thought may have been his discomfort, because right then I felt like
shutting up and reading a book; keeping occupied for the sake of being occupied, no longer available
for further conversation. Regardless, he wasn’t by anyone’s standards a shy type of person. He wasn’t
quiet. I noticed he had a lot buzzing around in that brain of his, and more than anything else he loved
to share it.
           The same day we spoke of altered states of consciousness, we sat up with each other until
four a.m. in front of the fire, talking about whatever and smoking joint after joint. It was never
enough. Dean was just glad to have the company. It was no change for him to be up at that hour so
there was no struggle, but, when the rest of us finally decided to go into the back garden to carry on
our conversations as the sun came up (at least from our perspectives; the sun doesn’t actually rise at
all) we all started to get a little silly. Our words were slurred like we were drunk, and in the frustration
of having minds that were too busy for how tired they were, everything became a lot funnier. In our
talk of altered states of consciousness, these states of mind fitted perfectly into the subject. We
enjoyed those effects; that’s what brought us onto the subject about sleep deprivation.
           Ryan mentioned it to begin with. A careless kid he was, always putting himself in danger to
find that next rush, and no problem bringing someone else along for the risk and the ride. It didn’t
matter to him because his philosophy of life was to have fun, to not worry about ‘what ifs.’ In part I
agreed with him. We can’t live in fear of possibilities, but the way he’d explain these philosophies
seemed to be lacking something that I could never quite put my finger on. No problem; he was a huge
pleasure to be around. Because of his humour he would take the most serious discussions about war
and hunger and CCTV cameras and corrupt cops and turn them all into one well thought-out, tightly
knit joke; serious jokes which never mocked the discussions or brought them to an end, but spurred
them on. Safe to say, I liked Ryan just as much as I knew his ways of living would be his end, but this
whole thing about sleep deprivation lit up my curiosity.
           It was simple; stay awake for seventy-two hours. Everything after that would be a trip. “Do
your research!” he said. And according to my research, he was right. After seventy-two hours
everything would be a trip: through psychosis, through madness, through mood swings and through
silliness, and very subtle hallucinations both visual and auditory. I read and I read; endless accounts of
people’s own experiments with sleep deprivation. It was mostly teenagers, and the experiences
varied so drastically across a wide range that it really was hard to get even a vague idea of what the
effects of sleep deprivation actually were. Some people reported, quote, “blissful experiences,” and
some reported absolute terror. Others had a fair balance of the two, but almost all of them reported a
very strange, delirious state of mind, like feeling as though they were not all there. They could tell
that they were there, but couldn’t completely be there. No, I can’t explain that very well. Anyway, it
had me intrigued. Manipulating the body’s chemical processes in order to achieve side effects similar
to those of being intoxicated had always been something I wanted to experiment with. My girlfriend,
Tracy, and her son, Kev, both thought it stupid at the lowest level, selfish and careless, and would not
‘play along’ should we decide to deprive ourselves of sleep.
           See, I had the idea that perhaps activating the body’s natural reactions to certain things, like
sleep deprivation, and hence those side effects, could be a lot healthier than any of the grass that
passed through my hands. Not only that, I wondered if it would present any opportunities for learning
about myself. Psychedelic plants seemed to me to be great teachers, more so than the synthetic
psychedelic drugs. On that note I want to add that that word psychedelic comes from two Greek
words; psykhe (or psyche) meaning “mind,” and delos, meaning “manifest” or make visible/clear.
           As it later turned out, Ryan seemed to know a lot about the chemicals that the human body
contains, especially those that offer psychedelic side effects when triggered; a common interest
between us. He put it right when he said that psychedelic plants are great because they’re natural
and they’re living, but so is the human body and it’s a lot closer to home.
           Ryan was nineteen. His younger brother, Stephen, went about with him almost everywhere. I
never saw Ryan without Stephen. Stephen was seventeen years old and about two feet taller than his
older brother. That’s why Ryan ironically gave him the nickname “Midget,” which stuck. Everybody
called him Midget because he was the tallest person in the neighbourhood. And nobody disliked or
didn’t know Midget. Whenever he did get away from Ryan he was up to doing good things with his
time, things that would usually benefit a lot of people; neighbourhood events and all these kinds of
things. Now, while Ryan was the one who brought the subject of sleep deprivation to the table,
Midget was the one to suggest we give it a try. “None of us have much else to do,” he said, “five
nights, easy!”
         That was when we all fell into a silent, deep consideration. And I said I would like to try it but
no promises until I’d looked into it further, and Ryan was sure to try. He didn’t even need to say yes,
and Dean would’ve been awake anyway. He would just be grateful for the company, he said.

                                                   X
                                        Two Days After Discussion
                                               Day One

It was the weekend. All of us were free, and college was out for the next two weeks so Dean and
Midget didn’t have to worry about being on schedule for anything. We came together on the Friday
afternoon, the same way we always came together; warm greetings, hey how’s it going’s, quite a few
bags of grass in hands, take places on the floor and can I make cups of tea? Fine! Caffeine and sugar
would play big parts in our diets over the course of the next five days. And for keeping ourselves busy,
we had; staying awake, pens and paper, packs of cards, board games, conversation, food to cook, a
house to clean and so on.
           By seven o clock that night I’m sure we all felt there was something different in our meeting
and being together. We made jokes about how much we enjoyed our sleep the night before and how
we were going to miss it, but I saw there was more to it than the humour; perhaps we were second-
thinking going through with it. I did, just a little bit. So we formed our circle on the floor again and all
rolled a joint each. Dinner would come shortly after.
           Tracy was not happy with me at all. She refused to be in the same room as us on that first
night. She’d spent those past two days trying to convince me out of doing what I was doing, and some
of the things she’d said made me think that she was very comfortable with the way it was before, that
she didn’t want any kind of change in how we lived together. It’s hard to talk to someone when
they’re feeling that. Kev told me she was angry. He felt the same about the experiment as she did; it
was stupid and careless, but he wasn’t angry. Stupid and careless were things he said he’d be
entertained by over the next few days.
           The smoking went on. Being that this was the first day of an experiment based on lack of
sleep, dreaming was brought up. The Midget carried the conversation;
“It’s where you sort of wake up in your dream; you realise you’re dreaming, become conscious of it so
you wake up but you’re still in the dream. Everything gets more real. It sounds real, you can feel it,
you can smell it. You can say to yourself ‘oh, where do I know that smell from?’ and then you might
realise that you know that smell from somewhere in your bedroom or somewhere you went last
week, while you were awake…”
“So it’s just like being awake,” Ryan started, “there’s no difference except you're still asleep, so what’s
the point?”
“But there is a difference! You know how irrational the dreamworld is. You can do anything you want
once you've realised you're dreaming. All those times you wanted to travel to Maccu Pichu or fuck
some girl you pass in the street but couldn’t because of... whatever... Money, status, guts, whatever...
You can fulfil all of that in those kinds of dreams. You know how, in the dreams sometimes houses can
wave around like gas or trees might look different in some way? It becomes surreal, you know… Well,
it stays like that in the lucid dreams too, but you are aware of it and it’s as normal to you as
everything here, now, like this joint. And you can enjoy it just as much too. They’re not boring, mark
my words. It’s just the same as having powers of some sort.”
And so the conversation continued. Midget shared what he knew about lucid dreams including a few
of his own experiences with them; Ryan listened with all his attention. He was genuinely curious. I
added a bit here and there when I found my entry points and Dean stared at the carpet, perhaps
jealous or angry, something or other. Either way, the talk went on and our noses turned up to the
smell of sausages and fried onions and some other things; Kev was in the kitchen.
“Yeah!” we laughed, “good man!”
           From lucid dreaming to memory, from memory to amnesia, from amnesia to Alzheimer’s,
from Alzheimer’s to chemtrails, the conversation flowed so smoothly. Not once did we fight with
what we were talking about because we spoke understanding that none of it belonged to us; that
we’d just picked it up from somewhere else and, really, who knew who or where that somewhere
else really was? We didn't fight because we didn't believe everything we read. We were just sharing.
Some of us believed and disbelieved less than others. Knowledge isn't static. I'm just recently starting
to think that it's a waste of time believing and disbelieving anything.
          So, all of these conversations we had are just markers, sort of letting us know that that first
night was as easy going, as interesting and as ‘normal’ as any of the other nights we’d hung out. There
was no real struggle to stay awake. In fact I don’t even think any of us noticed that we hadn’t slept, as
taken in to the conversation as we all were. And sometimes when you smoke as much weed as we did
that night, you might not get knocked to sleep, but smoke yourself sober with the ability to carry on
smoking without getting high or stoned. Then it becomes solely a social activity; a calming social
activity no longer with an end in sight.

                                                    X
                                                 Day Two

Tracy woke up at seven thirty with no more anger for me and in fact feeling a little bad about being
that way in the first place. Though it didn’t bother me too much, that tension with her lingered at the
back of my mind all night. She threw her arms around me and said good morning, kissed me as
though she hadn’t kissed me in years and made us all breakfast; Full English, fry-up! All seemed well
once again.
          When she came downstairs she found all four of us spread out across the carpet in the living
room. We were no longer sat in a circle but laying on our sides. By then we'd become lazy; our bodies
weak and tired, but our minds still awake. We still had it in us to go a long while; we knew this was
just a stage and it would pass. We’d already observed some minor effects of lack of sleep though,
effects we could all enjoy, of becoming somewhat ‘silly.’ It was the same as before, when we’d
watched daylight come in from the back garden; words were slurred, there was great pleasure in
rubbing our faces with our hands, we got a little dizzy and once again, it was easy to get stoned.
          But we decided around midday, when the exhaustion really began to hit me personally, that
it might be a smart idea to take a break from smoking weed in case it does send us to sleep. The
others would have to bother about waking us up and even a few minutes might really damage this
experiment. Plus, we didn’t have enough to smoke constantly for the five days we set as our targets
to remain awake. We had a lot, but not enough.
          People started coming to buy from me around one o clock that afternoon. One of them was
my friend Mark. We’d known each other for years. I'd usually slip him the extra half a gram here and
there. When I told him about what we were doing in there, he said, “I would have been asleep
already if I was you guys.”
“It’s easier than you think when you’ve got people around you to help out,” I said.
“That’s true. That’s what I’m counting on to keep me up. So if I conk out, you know… Punch me in the
face or something.” Added Midget.
“But anyway, this is perfect,” Mark said, “I need to go up to Newcastle for a few days and I can’t
exactly take Puggles. You think you could take him ‘til I’m back?”
This was great news to all our ears! I always loved Pugs, and it would give us something more to put
our attention to while we were up and about. I told him we’d take him without question; the little
black dog with a heavy tail, so heavy that when he walked and wagged his tail at the same time the
back half of his body shook from side to side. Big flappy ears, and little legs that looked like small rods
of fur. Ha! Just the thought of Puggles makes me laugh. He was a funny one. Mark went and got him
out of the car. He knew our place. When he came in and saw us all that killer tail of his flew around
everywhere. I’m not joking; it really did hurt to get hit by it. It slammed against the walls, the door,
Dean’s back. But it didn’t matter. We all loved Pugs.
          But by three o clock, the mood had died down a little bit. It seemed we tired people had
become somewhat absent-minded. We didn’t speak at all for ten minutes, and the only ones keeping
any conversation alive were Tracy and Dean. Kev had gone out. Midget sat rubbing his eyes, thinking
that would help when it actually just made things worse, and Ryan stood and stared out the window,
looking at nothing at all. He said it was Puggles’ fault; the dog had gone to sleep next to him just to
spite him. That was funny to me, and I decided to roll just one joint to pass around. That would at
least keep us active...
          “I don’t know about human nature. In fact I think it’s all a pile of shit theory, passed down
from greedy, powerful men to make them feel a bit better about their bloodshed. They have to tell
themselves things like that! I mean, the soldiers who fight in wars don’t have any idea what they’re
fighting for half the time; just what they’re told. Yeah, human nature… It’s like that word ‘instinct’. We
can’t figure out where the behaviour comes from so we just give it this fancy title, a little theory and
say it’s in-built. It’s just a guess. We don’t really know… At least in my experience and with the
information I’ve been looking at there is much more solid ground to work from the view that our
behaviour is influenced by the conditions we're in at any given time. We’re all corruptible, after all.”
Here, Dean went on again. He really did have something against this whole thing about human
nature. That wasn’t the first time I’d heard him speak about it, and I think it really pissed him off when
people talked to him about it, saying he couldn’t change the state of the world because it’s ‘in our
nature’ to do whatever they were defending. He said it neglected that humans have the abilities to
think and create. Though he later said that we don’t actually have that ability to create; just compile.
“Nature creates, our environment influences, we mix and match.” He looked at this belief in human
nature as just another religion. This conversation pulled me out of my slumber.
Tracy said; “I don’t know… Since the year 1,000 to now pretty much everything has changed and
we’re still in for destruction. We’re still killing each other and burning each other’s homes.”
I interrupted; “Yeah but not everything has changed like you say. We still cling on to old systems like
politics and money, even religion; extremely destructive forces when authority is given to them for
whatever reasons.”
“True,” she said, “that is true. Who knows if you’re right though Dean? Sounds like you could be but is
there any way of really finding out? So what’s the point in thinking about it and talking about it?”
Because that’s what keeps us curious, what keeps us wanting to go further into it so that we can
figure it out, maybe even change it. “If it is something out there in the world of paper that humans
have made for themselves, as opposed to the natural world, then we might be able to erase the
conditions that produce the motivation for mass murder, land-grabbing and all of that.”
           Eventually even Ryan came back to us, out of his daze and into this talk. Then he rolled a
joint and so did I; we were smoking again. We weren’t supposed to be smoking again, but what the
hell does ‘supposed to’ have to do with anything anyway?
           Midget didn’t have much to say, I noticed. I asked him why that was; why, if there was a
reason, he wasn’t coming into these complex conversations very often, and only having a sentence or
two to add when he did. He said he didn’t really think about these things, that there was never any
quote “trigger in his world” to make him think about them. So I could tell that was true, and that he’d
been asking himself the same question I did. There was nothing I could answer to that, other than
“fair enough.”
           We noticed the tiredness came in waves, and when it came it would render us ‘empty-
headed.’ I think all of us became more sensitive to cold too. We had to turn the heating on full whack
a number of times, but then it got too warm and we got drowsy from it. We turned it back off again
so it got cold. It became a system; turn it up, let it get warm, turn it off and get cold again so we
wouldn’t fall asleep. We even took it in turns to switch it on and off. Even though we got cold quite
easy, even sometimes shivering, Tracy was just fine. She joked about us being weak against it, but she
stopped when we joked about ourselves too. Then we started putting solid objects on the sofa and on
the armchair so we couldn’t sit on them, get too comfortable and fall asleep. It was a good technique
I think, but easy to reverse if we lost our will to stay awake.
           At about quarter past seven we all went walking. Kev had just come home and another wave
of tiredness had set in to all of us. We took Puggles and we went to the big field near the nursery.
There, he could run free and we could stand around conveniently freezing, not falling asleep. Midget
said, “let’s walk over to the supermarket before we go back. I’m buying and cooking today; it’s gunna
be a big feast!” So we did, and he bought fresh king prawns, squid, mussels, peppers and tomato, rice,
saffron and a couple of other bits and pieces: all things necessary to cook up a huge Paella. And, now
that I think about it, especially compared to what the food is like here, that was the one of the best
meals I’ve ever tasted.
           Over Paella and two beers each, we discussed the documentary movie “Spirit of the Time.” It
was an Internet hit, viewed by millions. It was all about the cogs, if you will, of our social structure;
the institutions that form our current established systems, from institutions such as the class system
to those of economic, political and legal focus. It wasn’t the first time we’d spoken about it, but we’d
all seen it and had quite a bit to say about it. I found the differences in how we interpreted the film’s
points quite interesting, if a little frustrating. Frustrating, because I knew the points the film made
which we discussed were objective and very simple; very easy to understand, but people want things
to be subjective so they can allow themselves an opinion about it, speak romantically and abstract
and so on. It’s an intellectual ego thing, maybe. And so the points get twisted and distorted, getting
lost in translation.
           Then it was dark; ten o clock at night before we knew it. Again, time was flying past and that
was something we could be grateful for. Because at that point it was just tiredness and weakness we
were dealing with; no mood swings just yet or any kinds of hallucinations, though Ryan did become
easily irritable. We left him alone; asked him no questions, he joined the conversations when he
wanted. He sat there in his own world, stroking Pugs and playing with his big floppy ears. I felt like the
lack of sleep was getting on top of him quite quickly. He didn’t want to smoke weed, and didn’t look
too tired but more so upset or even depressed
           That night was very cold. By midnight we were all shivering even though the heating was all
the way up. All shivering, except for Dean, of course, and Kev, who’d decided it might be fun to stay
up with us that night. He could be on the Internet anyway, chatting to some friends and looking up
some things. Every now and then we’d get him to play a bit of music for us.

                                                    X
                                                Day Three

This day was brought in through hard, heavy rain, thunder and the occasional flash of lightning. Dean
turned to us at around three o clock and simply said, “I can smell a storm coming.” Sure enough,
within that very hour, the storm made itself felt. Ryan had let his eyes stay closed for too long as he
sat. He fell back and hit his head on the fireplace, waking up instantly, red-faced and infuriated.
Midget and I seemed to be doing alright, though I noticed it took a few seconds for him to realise that
you were speaking to him and then another few to think up a response. No problem, I had the same
thing a few times. Kev had conked out and Dean seemed happy, more awake than ever. He threw a
deck of cards in the middle of the circle, shouting “Blackjack!” and so Blackjack it was. Ryan thanked
him.
          So we played, and I had my eye on Dean, who had his eye stuck on Ryan. He was watching
him like a hawk. Sometimes I couldn’t tell if he was actually watching him or just staring in his
direction. I pulled him into the kitchen.
“What’s up?” I asked. “You’re staring at Ryan. I see you.”
“I don’t really know about him right now. His eyes, they’re psycho, you know? His fuse is getting
shorter.”
“He’s given up on his sleep, Dean. Of course his fuse is getting shorter but it won’t help with you
eyeballing him all the time.”
“Well then we can share the responsibility. You watch him too. I’m serious; he’s losing it or
something. I’ve been through this before, you remember? He’s giving off energy that’s reminding me
of myself and, let me tell you, if it is the same thing then it gets real ugly the deeper he gets into it.”
“But what if it’s not the same thing? You’re different people.”
“I don’t know why it’s reminding me of myself, OK? If it carries on though, you need to tell him to go
get some sleep.”
“Dean, Ryan is a big boy. He makes his own decisions…”
“You’ll be cleaning up the mess.” He warned.
“You know, I haven’t slept either. I haven’t got the patience for this conversation right now. We’ll
keep eyes on him, no problem. That is, after all, why we’re doing this together.”
          I watched Ryan until he noticed I was watching him and asked; “what are you looking at?” I
told him it was nothing, but there really was something. He was itching from time to time, and over
the course of an hour he slapped himself twice and looked around like he was following a fly that kept
landing on his skin. What was going on in his head? I wondered.
“Ryan…” Midget said, pulling him out of whatever distraction he was in, “what’s wrong? Are you
feeling something?”
“No.” Ryan answered, and it was as simple as that.
          He threw his cards down to signal that he wasn’t playing, went to the corner of the room
where Pugs was sleeping and picked him up. “Wake up, Puggles. Wake up.” The dog was pulled from
his deep sleep, into Ryan’s arms and being bounced up and down in the same way I’ve seen mothers
do to babies. For them it might be all well, but Pugs tried to get away but Ryan didn’t let him. The rest
of us looked at each other; none of us really liked what he was doing. Still, we didn’t say anything.
           The rain calmed down a little bit after a couple of hours. We decided to get rid of all clocks
and switch off everything that tells the time. Checking the time was doing nothing but dragging our
hours out, giving us the illusion that we were waiting for something; for sleep, maybe. We had to say
no to it every time it tried to force itself on us. For me, sometimes it was so difficult that it felt like I
was trying to fight death itself; death, something that you can’t win a fight against, but I did and so I
realised it wasn’t really how it felt.
           Ryan did eventually leave Puggles alone and let him rest, after those couple of hours. He
went out into the back garden and we all followed a few minutes after to find him stood up straight
and still like a mannequin, staring out to the sky.
“A few days ago this sky looked dome-shaped to me. Now it looks flat,” he said, not turning around,
“why do you think that is?”
“You’ve lost a lot of sleep old brother.” Midget responded.
“Yes, a lot of sleep, and my state of mind has changed. But I don’t think it’s all that simple. I think it
goes deeper. Maybe it is all a matter of perception; that this world really is all an illusion, or a
projection of my mind which gets skewed when I manipulate it.”
“Why a projection of specifically your mind?” Dean asked, seeming a little agitated by that comment,
“why not our mind?”
“I don’t know, kid. You’re not in my head. I’ve never experienced a collective mind, not even through
meditation. But my mind… My mind is not just a theory. It’s a philosophy in and of itself; Solipsism.
You know the world around you because you perceive it, and your perception is fed through your
senses, and your brain in turn controls your senses. Who’s to say that the brain isn’t rigging it all; that
you don’t actually exist, that you are just my creation? Or even the other way around?”
“Is this what you’re thinking about, Ryan?” I asked. “Honestly I thought the tiredness had got you and
there was nothing but silence and stillness buzzing around in that brain of yours. Interesting train of
thought. You might find out one day.”
“There’s always something going on up there.”
           By the early afternoon sometime, I had already sold ten-bags and eighths to a number of
people. Just like regular in that house, there was another knock on the door. It was Midget’s turn to
answer and so he did. He brought in two guys I had not seen before; young-looking guys in track suits.
I was sure that, if they were from our neighbourhood somewhere, one of us would know them. As it
turned out, none of us did. They said they wanted to ‘tick’ some weed, which meant that they’d take
it then and pay another time. No seller in their right mind would tick someone they hadn’t met
before, and even though I wasn’t exactly in my right mind by that time – far from it – I refused to tick
them as well. One of them was a stocky lad, broad shoulders. He carried himself like that on purpose I
believe, in order to be somewhat intimidating. He stepped his way through the circle we had formed
on the floor, towards me. I stood up. Tracy stood up too, so did Ryan.
“Alright mate, where do you keep your stuff?” He said.
He pulled up his jacket, revealing the blade of a sheath knife in his waistband. I’m sure that if I weren’t
so tired by then I would have reacted in some way to that. But I could do nothing but look at him. His
friend passed him and me and went into the back room, next to the kitchen. It was in there where I
kept the weed, in a drawer inside the table. You couldn’t see that there even were drawers when you
looked at it from above though so I decided to let him go on looking. Ryan, however, did not. And
Midget sprang to his feet.
“Hey!” Ryan shouted to the guy in the back room.
The one in front of me turned and hit Ryan. He fell to the ground. Midget threw his own punch and
knocked the big guy in front of me down too. His friend came running for me but Ryan jumped past
me and tackled him like a rugby player, bringing him down and hitting him. Except he did not stop
hitting him. He just kept on, and on, and on. Midget had knocked the big guy out of consciousness,
took him by his arms and was dragging him out the back door. Puggles was barking, and Ryan was still
hitting the little guy. I looked at his face; he was enjoying it. He was releasing something that he had
kept bottled up. I looked at Dean and then at Tracy. Both of them were still, wouldn’t move, though
that guy was getting what he deserved. To humour them I allowed Ryan to give a few more punches,
but then he split the skin on the guy’s face and blood hit my carpet. Then there was a crack; the
nosebone being shattered.
“Enough!” I shouted, genuinely worried by that point.
I pulled Ryan off. He was exhausted, smiling. What if he had killed the guy? How would I deal with a
dead body that I, in effect, had helped to kill?
           Behind my back garden was a field behind some garages. Midget had called to Dean to help
him throw the big guy over the fence. Dean ran to help him, and Ryan and I followed, dragging the
little guy with us. Both of them unconscious, we lifted them in pairs and threw them over the fence,
looked over; noticed they’d landed beside one another in the “spooning” position. This made us feel a
little better, taking my attention away from my shaking jelly legs. Inside, Pugs wasn’t barking
anymore. Tracy was stood in the doorway waiting for us, just making sure we were alright.
“What the hell just happened?” I said under my breath, “calls for a joint, whatever it was!”
“You almost got robbed,” Dean stated the obvious, “and that would not have been good. Probably
shocked you back to being fully awake though. You should appreciate that!”
Typical Dean, the optimist, trying to find the good in almost being attacked and robbed. It made me
smile.
           Things went back to quote “normal” pretty quickly after that. We sat and we smoked, Ryan
pulled the dog onto his lap and forced it to stay there as he stroked it, thinking Pugs was enjoying it,
and we all started to speak about this irresponsibility and this violence people in our town seem to
have for one another these days. We wondered where it all came from. This brutality, it may have
always been there but it had become sort of like a trend. The kids were going crazy. I didn’t know how
old those guys were that came to take my weed away, but they couldn’t have been much older than
Ryan. Maybe even the same age as Midget and the others.
           There was Ryan, again, itching, slapping his arms and his face. I was convinced he was seeing
something or at least feeling it. He refused to talk about it. The expression on his face turned to that
of irritation when we asked him. And Dean fell asleep after smoking that joint! I guess that smoke
mixed with the excitement from before had knocked it right out of him. He fell asleep on the floor. I
wasn’t sure about waking him up because he was an insomniac; he wasn’t exactly part of this sleep
deprivation experiment. He was just there to be with us. But it didn’t matter. He had five minutes
before Ryan noticed, who clapped his hands beside Dean’s head, shouting “Wake up!” A jolt was sent
through Dean’s body, waking him up for sure, similar to those you get when you have just fallen
asleep; a quick dream gets you, maybe one of falling or getting hit by a bus or something, and you get
that shock that forces you awake and it always feels real because it doesn’t even feel like you’ve been
asleep. Anyway, Dean looked around, looked at Ryan who was laughing at him. Midget looked a little
concerned, but Dean didn’t lose his temper. He just said, “why did you do that? I won’t be able to
sleep again for days now.”
           We’d gone past being over-sensitive to cold. In all honesty, my body felt like an empty shell
and so did my mind. I didn’t feel anything, but I reacted to certain things and forced myself to feel for
the sake of being occupied. But I couldn’t think very well. That’s why I couldn’t react when the thief
showed me his knife. Nothing came to mind, and I couldn’t bring up memories either. They were just
a big mess. Midget almost seemed fine. He was smiling, his eyes didn’t look bloodshot or puffy or
anything. I was curious how he did it.
“Midget, why do you look like you’ve had the perfect sleep for the past couple of days when Ryan and
myself look shattered?”
“I’m still a bit tired,” he said, “but I’ve been meditating.”
“You haven’t been meditating.” I said in dispute.
“I’m meditating right now. I’m relaxed because I’m completely connected with my surroundings and I
know it. Maybe that has something to do with why I look beautiful and you look like shi-at.”
“Meditation? Ha!” Ryan laughed. “Listen little brother, meditation is just another gold necklace,
alright? And you’re not impressing anyone.”
“Not true,” I said, “I’m impressed, if what he’s saying really is true and if that’s why he looks like he’s
had his sleep.”
“He’s just talking shit. He always does.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about, Ryan.” Tracy put in.
“Whatever. I think I would know my own brother.”
“How can you know me?” Midget said, almost seeming offended, “you think you know me just
because we live together? How can you know me when you don’t even know yourself? Even I don’t
know me. Ourselves are the ones that are most surprised by our actions, you know that? We don’t
know ourselves. Even on the day we die, we don’t know ourselves.”
Good point, Midget! I never thought about it like that. But we’re all alive and we’re all learning. We
really don’t know ourselves. Ryan took this to heart. He was hurt, but maybe only at realising that his
little brother was right; that Ryan didn’t know Midget at all, or even himself.
          Dean was yawning. He was tired but he couldn’t get back to sleep. He was laying on the sofa
then, turning every five seconds in absolute restlessness. He was suffering with it, being tortured by
it. Eventually he turned around, looked at Ryan and said, “you’re a fucking idiot.” Ryan smiled at him,
but, again, I could tell that hurt him too.
          The day was getting on. I could tell by the position of the sun in the sky. It didn’t shine
through the front windows then, just reflected into it. That meant it was getting late in the evening.
“Alright guys, me and Tracy are cooking tonight.” I told them. No response.
They were playing Blackjack again; Dean, Midget and Kev, who’d just come back home from his
friend’s house. He’d been smoking too. Ryan was stood in the corner of the room, stood straight up,
staring at the wall, gently swaying forward and back, forward and back. In a way, this frightened me.
It looked a little insane, and if there were silence in the room then we would have all heard his
whispers, quick and repeating. Who knows what he was whispering? Maybe a prayer. Probably not.
          We all went into the back room to eat. We had Fajitas, and a lot of bowls and plates were
necessary for the fillers; peppers of every colour, celery, chicken meat, apple and pineapple, chilli
peppers, hot chilli taco sauce, etc. etc. My favourite food. Before dinner we all smoked Grace; a joint
each. Amen.
          Great food! Fajitas. Great conversation! The end of the requirement for humans in the work
force, thanks to our growing knowledge that spawned into wonderful machinery. No more nine to
five and no more need for money to exist!
“It could be dangerous,” Midget said, “if we try to fight the machines in order to keep our jobs instead
of being prepared and embracing them. Really dangerous. People will go hungry and homeless.”
          Then came night-time; the absence of sunlight, not the presence of darkness. I started to feel
very uncomfortable. Shaking but not cold, hungry even though I was full up, a lot of energy but still in
touch with my exhaustion. I didn’t know what was what. From time to time the world would spin, like
I’d been spinning around on the spot and had come to a sudden halt. I couldn’t kiss Tracy for longer
than a couple of seconds; having my eyes closed would put me at even greater unrest. I didn’t want to
smoke anymore weed.
          Ryan would just not let Puggles sleep. I was becoming extremely annoyed by his carelessness
towards the dog that I was supposed to be taking care of, yet I didn’t say anything. Every once in a
while he would put Pugs back down and go back to staring at the wall, swaying forwards and back,
forwards and back, whispering. I would try to listen to what he was whispering about but even in
silence I couldn’t pay attention. Dean clicked his fingers. I looked at him signal with his eyes and a nod
of the head that he wanted to speak to me in the kitchen. We went. Midget came too.
“You have to tell Ryan that he needs to go home and get some sleep.” Dean said.
“I agree,” Midget added, “he’s scaring me a little bit. I’ve never seen him so crazy before. I think it’s
getting on top of him.”
Before we could speak again, Ryan was stood at the doorway. He coughed to get our attention.
“Listen you guys, I don’t care what you think. I’m in this ‘til the end. What, do you think I’m too weak
for this?”
“It’s not about being weak, Ryan. This is an experiment. It’s not a case of whoever is the last one to
drop out wins a prize.” Midget said.
Dean chuckled at that. Big mistake, I thought; Ryan probably thought we were making a joke of him.
Midget’s assurance was useless then.
“I’m not going anywhere, and if I am too weak for this then let me go crazy, as you put it!”
“I didn’t mean it like that my brother. I just meant…”
“I don’t wanna hear it. You get it? Nothing you can say or think will get me to go home to sleep. I’m
sleeping when you guys sleep.”
“But look at yourself! We’re worried about…”
“Shut up!” I interrupted, “All of you, shut up. And Dean, wipe that stupid smile off your face! I thought
you were taking this seriously. Right now I don’t care about you Ryan. You can stay if you want, do
whatever. And Midget; he’s a big boy. He knew what he was getting himself into. But for fuck’s sakes
Ryan, let that dog sleep!”
Dean cut in; “But you said…”
“I don’t care what I said. Everybody out of the kitchen, now! Get out! We have joints to roll! Joints to
roll kids!”
          And so we did just that; we left the kitchen, formed our circle and rolled joints. Tracy looked
at me. I looked at her. I saw fire burning in her eyes. She was worried, and angry again. She stormed
out of the room and went to bed without saying a word. I didn’t follow.
“I’m not here.” Ryan whispered loudly, “I’m not here; this isn’t real. None of you are real! Not even
this joint that I hold in these hands. None of it. What the hell is happening?”
I couldn’t say anything to him. My head was spinning. Midget said something but the sounds stopped
registering. It started to sound like I was hearing underwater. I couldn’t even hear my own voice. I
repeated; “yeah, what is happening? What is happening…?”
           And I looked at Dean and he was looking at me, with his hands over his mouth as if he were
shocked. I was reminding him of himself, I knew. I started to feel afraid; afraid that I wouldn’t sleep
much anymore, like Dean, afraid that I wouldn’t hear properly again, afraid that these feelings
wouldn’t go away. But I didn’t know I was afraid. I just was, and when I did realise, it all went away. It
was just a phase. Just a phase. Thank God, if there is a God, it was just a phase. I felt desperate.
           Ryan was at the wall, whispering still. Maybe he just found peace there. Maybe it was just
something to stay awake. Midget’s eyelids had started to drop. His eyes looked a little bloodshot
then, and I didn’t dare to look in a mirror at my own.
           What hour was it by that time? Had we already reached the forth day? I’d lost all sense of
time, started questioning if we’d been going even longer than four days. Five maybe, six? I had to
restrain myself from looking at a clock.
“Guys… Can we make a promise that whatever we do here stays here? Whatever we say to each
other is forgotten after we sleep, and we’ll meet a day after that and have a big smoke, big meal, nice
conversation with no stress?”
Midget said that. It made me feel quite good to know that he was worried, and that he wanted us all
to take this with a pinch of salt and then come back a couple of days after as the friends we had been
just a few days before. In fact, it felt great. So great, I laughed. I laughed and I laughed, and I didn’t
stop. I tried to speak; tried to tell Midget that I wasn’t laughing at him, as such, but the words
wouldn’t come. I wanted to tell him; “of course! We’ll come back!” but I couldn’t. Ryan turned and
walked to me. He started shaking me but I didn’t stop laughing. He screamed at me, “stop it! Shut up!
Stop!” He kept shaking me but I couldn’t stop laughing, and when the laughing did stop I breathed out
and couldn’t stop myself from smiling. I felt so good!
           But eventually, like all things, it did come to an end. It was just another phase; another
spontaneous wave of feeling that was triggered only by my body’s confusion in my lack of sleep. Ryan
was angry with me. I’d annoyed him so bad with my laughter. That’s why he shook me, but I didn’t
stop and it made him feel even angrier. Midget’s eyelids had almost dropped completely, and Dean
was sat in silence. He didn’t want to be there, and Kev was the distant observer of all this madness.
From the table in the backroom, the table where I kept my weed, he sat on a chair browsing the
Internet, talked with his friends, smoked joints and watched when something he considered to be
interesting happened. Only later did we find out that he’d been writing his own report of all of this as
if it were a fiction story, and he was the third person narrator.
           So then, back to reality, we all rolled a joint each and passed them round if and when we felt
like it.

                                                   X
                                                Day Four

“I’ll kill myself before this so-called experiment is over,” Ryan said, seemingly without any reason at
all.
We didn’t care though. We were all too wrapped up in our own minds, or the lack of. The deprivation
had us all. The morning was cold. As the sun made its appearance we decided to go outside to smoke
but we didn’t stay out for long. The grass was frosted, there was ice on the path, the wind blew under
five degrees, but we felt it at minus fifteen or so. Back inside! And make cups of tea at once!
            It didn’t matter what I said. Ryan went straight over to Pugs and picked him up. The dog
woke up, yet again, tried to jump down but was forced to remain in Ryan’s arms, yet again. He turned
and looked at me as if to say “I’ll do what I want, and if I wanna pick up the dog, I will.” But I didn’t
feel like reacting. I knew what he was doing wasn’t, for lack of a better expression, nice, but I felt
nothing for it. Just cold.
            Blackjack it was! Midget threw down the cards. Dean would not play then; he was drawing.
“Human beings are disgusting, you know that?” Ryan said, again out of the blue, “we deserve to be in
this state of killing each other all the time, ripping each other off and breaking up happy relationships.
Who cares? Nobody cares. One day we’ll finally kill ourselves and all this beautiful planet will go back
to the trees and the grass.”
“Listen Ryan,” I said, “stop your whining. Focus on getting twenty-one, or inventing some airborne
toxin that kills humans only.”
            On we played. On we smoked. No more joking; we were all deadly serious. It was twenty-one
or nothing. I think it was nothing but these silly little games that stopped us from fighting each other. I
could smell the tension.
            Smell, yes. That sense became distorted. I smelt burning, I smelt bacon, I smelt the presence
of dead people watching us. And there were flashes of colour, things moving by the corners of my
eyes.
            I would close my eyes and there would be clouds of colour, like energy, moving through each
other and mixing, creating a pattern for less than a second and then reverting back to completely
random movement. And it was so, so cold.
            Ryan never won the game. He didn’t take that too well, throwing his cards up in the air and
jumping to his feet, then pacing around the living room floor as if he were trying to figure out what he
did wrong. Maybe he didn’t know it was a game of chance.
            Midget was struggling to stay awake. He wanted to do more than just play. He wanted to talk
about DMT with Ryan; supposedly a chemical that’s produced by the Pineal Gland (also known as the
third eye) in the brain. Apparently, very psychedelic. Ryan knew a lot about it but didn’t want to talk.
He wanted to pace around the room, itch, slap his skin to get his flies away and grumble to himself.
More than that, he wanted to kill himself.
“Midget,” I said, “go make me a cup of tea. You’re making breakfast today too. Fry up.”
His reaction told me he didn’t like the way I talked to him but it didn’t change a thing. I was
determined to get Midget to make breakfast. He said he wouldn’t, but he would make tea. I told him
that if there’s one of those things he certainly would be doing, it’s making breakfast.
            I still to this day do not know where that came from; where in my brain that attitude was
born. Midget was shocked, and, well, so was I, because I had never spoken to any of those guys like
that before. Dean even stopped doing what he was doing. He put the paper down and looked at me.
“What?” I asked him.
“What’s wrong with you? Don’t command people like that. Your lack of feeling will pass and by that
time you might realise that you’ve lost friends over it.”
“Leave him alone.” Ryan said; his voice, monotone.
“Go stand in your corner, Ryan. Dean, you’re not an expert on sleep deprivation just because you
sleep once every few days.”
“OK,” he said, “just listen… Listen to the way you guys are talking to each other, when you actually
talk, and listen to the silence; the lack of stimulating conversations. This has gone far enough! You
need to sleep. Cut this stupid experiment now and…”
“Nobody wants to hear it.”
That hit him. He jumped to his feet. He looked down at me so I jumped up too. We stood face to face.
He was breathing heavily, angrily. I looked deep into his eyes until he knew that there was no chance
of me backing away, or realising that what I was really doing was being stupid. He sat back down. He
didn’t want trouble. I took a few steps closer to him and, right in front of him, crouched down to stare
him in the eyes for just a couple more seconds. I gave off a slight laugh; a slight “H’m,” and went back
to where I was before. I felt mighty, like I’d crushed him. My head exploded as my ego burst through
it. Another change. Another wave; euphoria of the Gods. I was there. And when I realised that Ryan
had done what I told him to, had gone back to his corner, back to swaying back and forward, back and
forward, that false feeling of mightiness stuck.
            What is happening to me? I wondered. I knew what I was doing, I was watching myself do it,
but it wasn’t me that was actually doing it and I could not stop it. Something overcame me.
Something… I fell into some deep, dark hole. I became extremely depressed. I started thinking about
my life from the angle that I hated it; doubting everything, even my relationship with Tracy, cursing
everything, wanting to throw it all away. I didn’t want those people around me, but I knew that if I
told them to go away, I would lose my reason for not wanting them around me and even my sense of
being lost would be lost. Then I’d have nothing.
“Do you really wanna die, Ryan?” I asked. “I’ll kill you if you want, then I’ll kill your brother.”
He didn’t reply. He picked Puggles back up, once again waking him from his sleep. The dog growled a
little bit. Was he, too, feeling the effects of sleep deprivation?
“Catch!” Ryan shouted, and hurled the dog in my direction. “Don’t ever talk about killing my brother.”
Luckily I caught the dog and held him in my arms, letting him rest in the softness of my hoody. Right
then I felt the most intense hatred for Ryan. For him, and for the rest of the people in that room too.
Who throws a dog? I stood, speechless for a second or two. And then I don’t know what happened;
what kind of sick, disgusting force came over me, but I pulled Puggles up above my head, held him
there with both hands and threw him down at Ryan with unnecessarily extreme force. Ryan put up his
arms to defend himself instead of trying to catch the dog and I heard Pugs yelp as his side met Ryan’s
elbow. And as the dog was falling to the floor, I guess Ryan wanted to break the fall a little bit and he
did so by bringing up his foot, but the dog fell too fast and hit Ryan’s foot on its way up. His ribcage
met with the forceful kick and he let off yet another yelp, this time in even greater pain. He hit the
floor, jumped straight to his feet and ran into the back room, taking great care not to get too close to
any of the people in that room.
          Dean and Midget stood up. Dean cried out, “that’s enough!” in sheer disgust. I fell to my
knees. My heart felt cold, painful somehow. Tears gathered up in my eyes until they couldn’t be held
anymore and streamed down my cheeks. I cried and I cried, beating the floor with my fists.
“You see what happens?” Dean said, “you would never have done that if you’d listened to me!”
Then, he was gone. It was about seven o clock in the morning, judging by the light outside, when
Dean left the house. Midget was silent. He looked at me in a mix of fear and pity, and Ryan went back
to staring at the wall. I think I heard him weeping too, and whispering. His whispering caught my
attention and I could cry no more. Paranoia shot through me. I bounced to my feet, jumped over to
him, turned him round and grabbed him by his shirt. Against the wall, I pulled him up.
“What are you whispering? Tell me what you’re goddamn whispering!”
Midget took me by my shoulders and pulled me back. He threw his hardest punch into my face and I
fell down. There was blood.
“Hey! What do you think you’re doing? We still have one day left of this. Do you wanna kill each
other? Roll a joint, put your feet up and shut the hell up!”
Ryan went back to his whispering. I heard the floorboards from upstairs start to creak, and then
movement towards the stairs. Then heavy footsteps coming down the stairs. It was either Tracy or
Kev, I knew, but I became so scared, almost like I had no idea who it was coming down the stairs, and
that they were coming to get me. I sat up, pushed my hands and my feet against the ground and
shifted into the back room. Pugs was laying in the corner, breathing heavy and quick.
          I waited and I waited. Someone was going to scream at me, I was so sure of it. I sat there in
the back room against the wall opposite to where Pugs was. I waited for minutes, listening only to the
sound of Ryan’s whispering and Midget sighing in distress. Nobody came through the door; nobody
came down the stairs. I wonder now if the floorboards upstairs creaked at all.
          But it was another hour before Tracy woke up, and a further half hour before Kev came
down as well. Tracy knew something had gone on while she was sleeping. Dean had gone, none of us
played Blackjack, smoked weed or anything. We didn’t speak.
“What’s up here?” She asked.
She got no reply.
“Where’s Dean?”
“Dean went away.” Midget answered.
“Why?”
“Your man is getting too aggressive.”
“I’m paranoid.” I said.
“OK guys,” Tracy sighed, “I’ve had enough. I want my man back. Midget, Ryan, both of you, out!”
I got up, almost panicking.
“No, no, no, no! Dean left because he couldn’t stop us going one more night. Just one more night!
Then we’ll sleep together again, I promise.”
“Look at you. You’re a mess. You’re shaking. Midget, Ryan… Go home.”
“I think she’s right,” Midget said, “you are a mess. I feel a mess. Look at Ryan; he’s going crazy. We
need to sleep!”
I became dizzy again. It was brought on by this frustration in the conversation. I was getting angry at
Tracy for cutting in on our business, and at Midget for being so weak and at Ryan for being so crazy,
and at me for getting sucked too far in. But, still…
“We’re going.” Midget said, pulling his brother with him.
Maybe that’s what Ryan had been waiting for. He walked with him willingly enough. I pushed Tracy
out of my way. She fell onto the armchair and I jumped in front of the door before Midget and Ryan.

“Smoke a joint guys. Smoke two joints. Take the whole damn pound if you like, but I’ll tell you now;
you’re not leaving just yet. We have one more night here and we’re in it together.”
“You can’t do that.” Midget whispered.
Tracy jumped up. She came to me and started pulling me by my shirt.
“Let them go!” she screamed, “you’re being crazy! Let them go!”
Puggles started barking. Midget started yelling at me to let them go. Ryan started shouting and
covering his ears; it was too much for his head. Too much for mine. Kev sat in silence, watching
without a single thing to say, just keeping his distance.
“Leave me alone, Trace!”
She kept pulling my shirt. Midget kept yelling, “get out of the way now!” Pugs kept barking. It flooded
my mind and I lost control. I pushed Midget back, pulled my arm away from Tracy and without a
second thought I hit her hard with an open palm across the cheek. She fell right down. I didn’t realise
what I’d done. She started to cry. All I cared about was keeping Midget and Ryan in the room. After
all, I’d already lost Dean, or that was how I chose to see it.
“Sit down!” I said to the guys, “get on the floor. Roll a fucking joint. And you, Kev! How can you just sit
there when I hit your mum like that, hm?”
And then it hit me.
“Tracy. Oh my God… Shit, shit, shit! I am so sorry. I don’t know what happened. I just lost control, I…”
She ran past me; out the door, out the house, out the gate. I didn’t see her again after that.
            All was silent. We were all feeling a little lost. I could feel it in the air. We didn’t speak to
each other. Probably about three in the afternoon, there came a knock at the door. Nobody
answered. Knock, again. Knock, knock, very loudly. It started to get to me. The sounds of those last
few knocks echoed around my brain, amplified. I got up on my feet and ran to the door. I had to stop
the knocking. I opened it. It was Dean.
“You…” I said.
“Tracy’s at mine. You hit her? She told me what happened. Now you have to stop, don’t you get it?”
“She’s gone. She won’t come back.”
“She’ll come back. She understands you are not you right now. Let’s go in…”
Dean went in first. I closed the door behind him and followed. He was just stood there in the
doorway, looking in.
“Ryan…?” He asked, “are you OK?”
Ryan was on his feet. He was walking towards Kev, towards the back room, almost like sleepwalking.
He was dragging his feet and his eyes were almost closed. He moved so slowly.
“Ryan?”
And that was that. Ryan fell, but not to his knees or into a ball. He fell flat, and his face hit the corner
of the table where Kev was sat. It was disgusting, the way his head bounced off it, and there was
blood. Lots of blood. It came pouring from his eye socket; rivers of blood flooding down his cheeks
from inside his left eyelid. He moved his hand and cupped it over his eye. Soon enough, his whole
hand was covered red. He was really, really screaming and I had no idea what to do. Midget was on
the floor, on all fours, suffering a panic attack.
“Yes, we’ve got an emergency at fifty five Poulton Road. We’ve been doing a sleep deprivation
experiment and my friend fell and I think he’s pierced his eye on the corner of the table. Please come
quick! He is losing blood fast!”
And, once again, that was that. Except that time, it was really that. He told them about the
experiment, which aroused their suspicion. They sent an ambulance and two police cars. None of us
expected that, and when they came they found just short of a pound of high-grade cannabis. It wasn’t
in the drawer; I didn’t think to hide it. I was cuffed and in the back of the police car before I knew it.
            The last thing I heard about all of that is that Ryan is blind in one eye and committed to
psychiatric care. He stares at the wall all day long, swaying backwards and forwards, backwards and
forwards, whispering to himself, rarely sleeping, afraid to sleep. Dean visits me sometimes and he
sleeps well now. It's good to have visitors, even though it's just the one. I am glad it's Dean though, of
all of them... And Kev released his written account of what went on over those days, first to the police
and then onto the Internet.

END

								
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