by Martin James Hunter
Some Time this March
The exhibition was destroyed some time before The Count and I arrived and has since degraded into a party. Relics of a time long elapsed lie broken and scattered across several rooms. Fragments of what was arguably once art.
A door greets me in the hallway, broken and forgotten and detached from its frame. I resist the temptation to rap its surface as I pass.
After another bump of K I discover the paper-mâché coated bathroom. It appears the atmospheric support mechanism in this room has failed, entombing it in ice. The Count fingers his gram nervously as he takes the scene in. His mindset has not been the most stable as of late.
In the kitchen there is an innumerable amount of empty bottles preventing the room reaching its full capacity. They stand like a long dead army, watching over the swallowing and insufflation and debauchery. I suspect this is not part of the exhibition.
I push open the bedroom door and stand gaping at the structure presented to me. Articles of furniture assembled like Tetris pieces. Cabinets. A wardrobe. A sofa positioned on its side. All pressed together into a tower close to scraping the ceiling. Perched at the top, a regal chair overlooking the room. People on ketamine huddled around it with the intimacy of a family of monkeys. With unsteady legs I clamber up a ladder to Fort Ketamine’s apex where I am accepted within their ranks.
From her throne, the King declares that I am the Jack. I am then introduced to the Knight, Jester, Rook and some others. A medley of chess pieces and playing cards. We exchange gleeful high fives and inhale more K from keys.
As we survey our dominion from above, I share an unrivalled sense of empowerment with my royal network. On the floor beneath us lie our subordinates. Plebs too weak to continue into the night. Quiet and spent and frivolous. A handful of them share a mattress and a single duvet. Shivering and fighting for sleep beneath the music.
The Truth Stands Revealed
Ketamine is incessantly referred to as a horse tranquilliser by the British media. However it is no more a horse tranquilliser than a human or dog or rabbit tranquilliser. It is used as a general aesthetic in human medicine but due to the hallucinations it causes not as a primary one. Ketamine is also used to manage pain in large animals, but is not particularly effective on cattle. Cows sleep an average of four hours a day.
The Fall of Fort Ketamine
The Count staggers around dizzily beneath us having crossed into paranoia long ago, his eyes wide and vitreous. Casting an unrepentant glance over his world, I take a bump of K from the secret compartment of our monarch’s ring.
Memories of family, friends, lovers and enemies dissipate with each sniff. They become smeared faces, substandard and spent. Old components from a time before Fort K. I have no need for them now; everything is how it should be. But all good things must come to an end.
Intoxicated with power, the Jester mischievously leans forward. With ape-like arms he grasps the fort’s structure and begins rocking the thing with surprising power. A gorilla aggressively responding to a threat. I hang on for dear life as our home shudders under his strength. Cries for help go unheard. Subordinates below stirring from the commotion. The Count tugs at his hair as he watches in horror.
A heart-stopping crack from the structure prompts a simultaneous royal gasp. The Rook tumbles from the tower with a cry of terror and is forgotten. I fumble for something to hold onto but there is little. Fingers faltering under each jerk. Each digit subtracted like seconds from a countdown. Voices begging the Jester to stop but he is too far gone, his manic grin the only response offered.
Then I am falling forever, the distance elongated by the K. Everything smearing as though I am tearing through space at an unfathomable speed. In my condition I am unable to brace for the fall and for a moment it seems I pass straight through the floor. Then with a thump I hit it like a bag of sand. Possessions rain down around me. Someone’s phone. A set of keys. Pens tinkling like music. I lie there for a moment in a daze, wondering what happened to the contentedness and empowerment and my dynastic position. The Count has long fled the room.
To the relief of us all the Jester settles and the turmoil ceases and it does not take long for the happiness above to return. Reluctantly I crawl onto the mattress and under the duvet but it brings only coldness. Beneath the callous glances of the ruling class I discover the true meaning of solitude.
Unrelenting music keeps me awake as it had done to the other subordinates. The tables have unexpectedly turned. I lie there for a while listening to the festivities above, too distressed to rejoin them. Then I stagger from the room, haggard and anguished and inferior. My nobility a thing of the past, I exit into the industrious streets where the spirit of ketamine leaves my body.