It’s been a while since I last did ketamine, but I hear it’s still in use by the feral yoof of the UK.

It used to be used as a battlefield anaesthetic for humans, but got canned after the Vietnam War due to the nightmarish hallucinations it could spawn for people lost in the jungle with their legs blown off.

The effects of ketamine vary enormously with the dosage.

If you take a small amount, it gives you a warm, floaty buzz, like you’re paddling in the shallows of something terribly strange. It can even get you up and dancing.

If you take some more (and you may as well, there’s loads left) then you get a weird feeling like someone is opening up all your mental filing cabinets and chucking the contents all around your head. Your vision goes square almost, and you start to become dissociated from your body. If you try to get up and walk, though, you can do it in a single bound. Congratulations. You are now a pod person.

Sniffing more and things get really weird. The dimensions resize before losing their function as you slip







*   *   *

One night I took some before going to bed. I slipped off quickly enough, but instead of dreaming, I found myself in my astral form, in an astral version of my room. I could see my real self, asleep in the bed, and tried to reconnect. However, I slipped through the bedclothes instead and down through layers of velvety darkness.

I climbed out of the sky and down to the ground, looking about me. I seemed to be backstage somewhere, with various people running about with bits of scenery and equipment.

A woman with a clipboard approached. She wasn’t quite human.

“What are you doing?” she said. “You’re not supposed to be around here.”

“Sorry,” I said, “I wasn’t aware of that.”

“Well, this is a restricted area. It’s off-limits to dreamers.” She got closer, inspecting me. “Wait a minute, you’re not dreaming are you?”

“No, I’ve taken something.”

“You’ve been doing ketamine, haven’t you?” she demanded.

“Yes,” I said, expecting a reprimand, but none came. So I said, “Look, while I’m here, do you think you could show me around?”

She said yes.

It seems I had ended up stuck somewhere in the production process of dreams, wandering around like I was on a movie lot or something. The woman showed me towards what looked like a swimming pool, overlaid with a rubber sheet. On this various strange creatures bounced up and down in lanes.

“What are they doing?” I asked.

“They’re practicing holding on,” she said. “People think they have to struggle to hold onto their dreams, and that’s partly right. But dreams also have to work at holding onto people.”

We walked on through municipal corridors piled high with boxes. (Backstage, dreamland is a bit shabby really. You get something similar at theatres and TV studios.)

It was then that I became aware of being hunted. A group of guards or something had spotted me and were closing in. In response to the danger, I raised my consciousness level, floating up back towards my room and a waking state.

And a cigarette.

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