Ketamine and Hexagons
by Martin James Hunter
9am. The ketamine grabs my head and dunks me under and the room breaks into hexagons. Tiny components both inches from my face and miles away, my perception skewered and splayed and presented incorrectly. The hexagons carry with them parts of the room. Some were offered to me, and some were taken. Others hid gingerly in my peripheral.
They split and slide from their positions, manoeuvring fluently as though part of some complex system. They come forward and draw back as though testing me but I do not flinch. I have no control over my body. Incapable of feelings or opinions. Now a piece of apparatus, my only purpose to observe.
Then I am in the cold sunlight and the world is distant as though down a tunnel. Segmented buildings loom over me when I tilt my head, swaying disapprovingly with every step. People I know ahead of me in an unsure line. The hexagons moving with more intensity. Assembling algorithmically. Drawing over my legs. Children pass, their laughter distorted like old cassettes. Everyone is getting further away. Some of them specks in the distance. Notice my friend Sugarman beside me and I cling to him as though he were a ski lift. What is going on?
I lean on a wall and it caves inwards under my weight. An abrupt shriek as I stumble in, the bell above the door rupturing under the weight of the chemical. I stumble amongst mirrors casting striking displays of light. Optical instruments arranged systematically over the walls and around pillars in alluring rows of six. Two women in clinical white turn to me. Their eyes widen, processing my entrance. The moment stands still.
I am too dissociated to be controlled by anxiety. Instead something distant tells me to get out. I spacewalk backwards into cold sunlight as though I am wading through mud. No panic comes over me. No anxiety. Nothing. Concerned only with my escape. A heavy hand clamps down on my shoulder. The coercive weight of authority. The game is up.
The world shoots past as I turn. Smearing colour and light and shape and sound in a kaleidoscopic soup. Then I am facing him. Sugarman. An angel plucking me from this nightmare. An ally, a brother and a comrade. With our combined strength we break through the hexagons. Drag ourselves towards the correct building. Open the great tomb door. As we ascend the stairs I am vaguely aware our objective is almost complete. Back to the safety of a dingy flat. Curtains closed. Lights off. Egos flattened.
This was a few weeks ago. A disorientating but not unpleasant experience. Taking ketamine when everyone has been on it for a while isn’t a good idea. Just after it hit me, the others emerged from their trips and decided to relocate to another flat. I met all of them bar Sugarman that night so was not around familiar faces. Lucky he found me before I wandered off and was thrown into a police car mumbling about geometric shapes.
Can still picture the hexagons as though it happened yesterday. Noticed a minor obsession with them since. When I encounter a lattice of them they always grab my attention. There is a tiled field of them in the west end that I enjoy walking over. A man with a hexagonal-patterned jumper I have considered speaking to. Hexagon-shaped pills I arranged into a perfect grid. A hexagon in the centre of the Star of David. And I’ve been considering getting a hexagon rug.
A polygon is a flat shape made up of straight lines joining together to form a closed circuit. The hexagon is a polygon with six edges and six vertices. Patterns of them are prevalent in nature due to their efficiency.
The honeycomb is a mass of hexagonal cells thought to use the least material when creating a lattice within a given volume. The structure of the snowflake is composed of hexagonal prisms when examined under a micrograph. The skeleton formula of most recreational substances contain at least one hexagon representing segments of their chemical makeup. Carbon rings. THC has three, Ketamine has two, MDMA has one.
The Giant’s Causeway looks like a congealed moment from my waltz through town. Hexagons jutting from the earth carrying its image with it. According to legend, a Scottish giant took a great line there centuries ago and experienced a trip so unfathomable it changed the land forever. The images it faced as it choked on its own vomit. The horror in its eyes as the very earth turned on it. It’s last moments reproduced as a jarring sculpture.
Compound CI-581 was synthesised in 1961 and first tested on volunteers from a state prison in America. It was later renamed ketamine and employed by the US army in field surgery during the Vietnam war. In 1999, the US government declared it illegal. The UK followed suit in January 2006.
Each line of ketamine is a roll of a dice. Sometimes you experience a mild disorientation or different frame of mind. Others you end up wrapped around a stranger babbling shit in a purely platonic sense. A good ice breaker. Generally, with a little ketamine you can still be relatively sociable as long as you aren’t the only one in the room doing it. With a lot you can cross into a new mental frontier.
A ten inch line was once presented to me during the final stages of a party. A white horseshoe laid across a DVD case. I witnessed a side of ketamine I’d never before. The world became computative and unequivocal and esoteric. Every second stretched out and presented to me like a mile of fabric woven from existence. Eventually time lost all meaning and forever I remained in the same moment, again an objective watcher. My entire past, present and future fused together and made peace with another. Memories were cast on the wall as though from an old projector. My angels and demons shook hands and laughed and kissed and two of them fucked. My attempts to explain this to those around me fell flat. A stuttering glossolalia for me alone.
One of the deepest experiences I’ve had on any substance. Notable for its clarity and objectivity. My experiences with salvia are similar in that I observed without feeling, but I was too stunned at the visuals to have any chance at self-analysis.
Managed to teach myself how to write on ketamine. My handwriting can be surprisingly coherent. Mistakes I can sometimes fix afterwards. Other times it’s undecipherable. Pages of hieroglyphics from a dissociated hand. I started the ketamine diaries a few weeks back when I was over at Sugarman’s. They go something like this:
The room hasn’t been tidied for some time and sneezing on ket is incredible. Sugarman says he’s had twenty two midlife crises in the past five minutes. Comments that the stuff isn’t very strong so racks up another massive one. Takes it. Decides he’s going to the shop for some Volvic. Is gone before I can stop him.
I am not left in silence long. Moments later he crashes back through the door with tea cakes and jelly babies and water. Puts them down squealing then starts rubbing his torso and looking at me with an eye closed. Starts reeling off lines in a high pitched voice. Sounds like a cartoon character going mad. The sound of someone lost to a dissociative.
“Fucking so ketted man.”
“Why do I have a bag of jelly babies?”
When he looks at me I know he can’t see me. One eye is still closed. The other is aeons away. But he knows where I was and keeps his eye on it given I reappear.
“What the fuck is going on?”
“I’m the cockpit driver.”
The techno manipulates his body. He dances as though on strings. A marionette powered by ketamine. I watch him for a moment. This spectacle presented to me. Wonder how many times I’ve been in a similar state. An exhibit for a room of watchers.
“I’m fucking off my tits.”
“The world’s going to end next Tuesday.”
I go into my own mind. Leave Sugarman to whatever it is that’s happening to him. Start writing about how humans have no control over social games. How particles behave differently when being observed, as do people. How capitalism is inherently flawed since it is intrinsically linked to our early social relations. How squashed teacakes aren’t as nice as unsquashed ones despite the only thing changing is their shape. At first I decide I am not too affected by the ketamine. Then I am squeezing the skin together on my hand to make it look like it’s talking.
I glance around the room. Feels as though I am not in it. Sugarman’s nostril has been coated in white since before he left for the shop. We take another dunt. Powder rushes up my nose and galvanises my body. A gentle electric charge throughout my limbs. I catch myself rubbing my face against a pillow like a cat.
Ketamine can take you in many directions. By the hand or via a kick up the arse. Sometimes it can come at you when you least expect it. A line of the stuff masquerading as something else. It’s happened to me. Camouflaged as MDMA at a party. I took it and fell backwards and destroyed a table. Woke up on an elevator floor. Luckily I had good friends with me.
One of the darker ketamine moments. A nice-looking girl turns up to a party where we were all wrecked. Another addition to the collective, carrying with her more ingredients for our chemical soup. At one point she mistook a line of ketamine for coke and spent the next hour writhing on the couch, lost in some dark place. Her foot shot out across the room and the next thing I know I was being kicked and rubbed. Think she was trying to play footsie. Eventually she gave up and left me to the diplopic realm the ketamine brought.
Later she came out of nowhere and bit my knee. It was sore so I asked her to not do it again but she did anyway. Her hand went to my leg and started squeezing. When I turned to her she was touching herself through her jeans. Her face in quiet ecstasy. For a moment I only registered her looks, her body, her hand on my leg, and the fact that she was getting herself off. I had to have a word with myself.
Read Fort Ketamine.