The trouble with smoking strange weed is that you never know if you’ll end up tripping. A half an hour after I got out of the car full of freaks I shared a joint with I am so far gone I have no idea where I am. I’m only able to stay on the shoulder and off the road with great effort. Finally I get a ride. The Greek god Hermes looks me up and down and gestures brusquely with his head.
Let’s go, Hermes says.
In the front passenger’s seat I try not to stare. Hermes has a silver helmet with these little wings on it humming and buzzing like a hummingbird’s. Bigger ones on his ankles that bellow an angry buzz like a thousand wasps.
Hermes gets in my face in a most disagreeable way. He snarls and spits, Well, did you get a good look?
Leave him alone, Neal, says a shrill voice from the back seat.
I had no idea it was back there, whatever it is. I’m almost afraid to look, but I do. It’s Elsie the cow. Don’t worry, Elsie says. We’re all friends here.
Neal Hermes says SHUT UP at Elsie.
Don’t scare the boy, Elsie moos. He’s tripping.
WHAT? The hysterical Neal-Hermes shouts. RU a doper, boy?
I’m no such thing, I protest.
Neal-Hermes slams on the brakes and comes to a complete stop. Then he leans over and gives Elsie mouth-to-mouth. Her four chambered stomach regurgitates nutrients of the gods and Neal-Hermes swallows them and licks himself all over.
GET OUT! He bellows at me.
I say to Elsie, You have the most demure little moo.
She primps and bats big cartoon lashes and says, Why, thank you, dear.
GET OUT OR I’LL FUCKING KILL YOU! Neal-Hermes screams.
I need no such encouragement. This is just too strange. I get out.
Don’t scratch the metaphor, Elsie moos me. It leaves an ugly scab.
The car pulls off.