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A Trip To A & E


A close up of a lovely Psilocybe semilanceata Image Courtesy of Peter Bergson

Being honest, he wasn't even sure he wanted to do shrooms any more. He'd had a lot to drink that night, and was actually feeling a bit dehydrated, as well as a little unsteady on his feet. Under normal circumstances he would freely admit he was drunk, but this was quite a normal occurrence with John, and was often the way things ended up after a night out with him.

They talked, and John seemed a bit quieter then usual. Dave figured he was a little apprehensive. John, wasn't somebody that shroomed a lot. And certainly no-where near as much as Dave. The last time he'd done it had been University at a friends party. Admittedly he'd had one of the best nights of his life that evening, but a few years had gone by since then.

The water in the pan was boiling now. Dave took the bowls emptying the contents into the saucepan. Immediately some of the mushrooms began to hydrate. Dave always enjoyed this moment. It was like opening up a time capsule. The mushrooms began to swell, and much of their original colour returned. For a moment they looked exactly as Dave remembered when he picked them from fresh all those years ago in the field. 2001 – what a year he thought to himself. He could clearly see the nipple that most of them possessed, and their lovely olive colour.

Then the smell hit him. It was not something Dave could admit he enjoyed. He always likened it to the smell of swamp water, which pretty much wasn't too far from the truth. The colour of the water was changing to tea brown now. He stirred the mushrooms to ensure that they were all well saturated and un-clumped, and then lowered the dial of the electric hob, leaving it to simmer. Dave normally liked to leave them at least 15 minutes before pouring the tea. He couldn't help it, but to him this was the calm before the storm. It was hard not to be a little apprehensive. He knew like John how powerful mushrooms could be. He measured out a big dose. There was no question the night was going to get interesting. A little doubt still lingered in his mind he was doing the right thing.

He and John passed the time chatting about the forthcoming festivities and sipping their wine. Fifteen minutes soon passed, and Dave did the duty of preparing the tea. He found a sieve that had conveniently been washed and was lying in the draining rack, and carefully poured the pan's contents through it until each mug had an equal amount.

For most novices this would have been it. But Dave still had one last thing to do. He grabbed a handful of kitchen towel from the sideboard, and then poured the wet mushrooms into it. He then wrapped up the precious shrooms and squeezed gently. To Dave this was the most powerful contents of the tea – the true eye of the hurricane – the liquid from the mushrooms themselves. He squeezed every last drop from them, just as he would if squeezing an orange dripping it out equally between the mugs until not a single drop was left.
"Got any Honey" he asked John.

"In the cupboard" John said pointing with his finger. Dave got it down putting a big spoonful into each mug and stirring it well. That was it. The tea was finished. It was as simple as that. The tea was ready.

He put John's in front of him, and then sat down at the other end of the table with his own. "Cheers" he said to Dave raising his mug to him.

"Cheers" John said, getting a whiff of the tea. It smelt awful. John raised the mugs to his lips and sipped it a little cautiously – it tasted pretty bad too. The honey lightly disguised the dank and complex taste. Swamp water, was pretty much the only description that fitted. John winced at the tea, sticking his tongue out with revolt.

Down the other end of the table, Dave wasn't fairing much better. The taste always set off an involuntary spasm in him, setting his hair stand on end. "Just take big gulps" he said "and try and get it down within 15 minutes". Dave always liked to give himself a time limit to drink the shrooms in. If you took too long, there was the danger the come up would put you off finishing the tea, thereby limiting its effectiveness. Drinking a mushroom tea was just something you had to commit to and get the job done as soon as you could, (obviously without throwing it back up – a problem he knew a few people had – some people just simply couldn't stomach it).

They drank in silence between them, moving up to bigger and bigger gulps. Eventually they were both reaching the last dregs. This was always a honey sweet, sediment filled experience which was pretty unpleasant. Dave took one last mouthful, putting the empty mug back down on the table. There was no going back now. John finished soon afterwards still grimacing with disgust slightly. "That was f@*k'n awful" he grimaced. Dave nodded in agreement. Still they had managed to do it.

Already Dave was starting to feel a light-headedness about him. He recognised this as different to his normal drunk state – he knew the mushroom's power was starting to work. He felt his face flush a bit. He never liked to mention what he was feeling at the start in case the other people couldn't feel anything and felt alienated. The mushroom was coming on fast, taking him a little by surprise. Dave was used to waiting half an hour to 45 minutes before any of the effects made themselves apparent.

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