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Acid Freakout German Style

Habeas Mentem

Sturm und Drang: Last Night in Bangkok, the second installment in Habeas Mentem's incredible journeys through Asia...

It is obvious that discipline in the self-metaprogrammer is absolutely essential. - John C. Lilly

My last night in Bangkok augured ill and was almost too much to believe. I was dozing peacefully in my room at a guest house not far from Kao San Road, the major backpacker warren, ruminating on my imminent trip to Phnom Penh, when I was awakened by an incredible animal caterwauling, a roar emitted by a human beast. I knew immediately it was an intoxicated hooligan, wanting to draw attention to himself after drinking too much lager. As the next four hours of turmoil would prove, I was only wrong about the type of intoxicant used...

I try to get back to sleep, but now need to make a trip to the toilet, down the hall in the vicinity of the commotion. In the spacious vestibule outside the filthy communal bathroom, seated on the soft wooden floor, is a young man of Middle Eastern extraction. From his boisterousness, and total gall at waking an entire guesthouse in the middle of the night, I instantly take him for an Israeli, figuring that a mandatory stint in the army gives young Israelis an audacity most Europeans could never muster. He's yelling that "no one needs to be fighting anymore!" That he's "Jesus", and yells at anyone he can point a finger at, "Don't you remember me??"

The staff of the guest house, mostly older, penniless Thai spinsters, are trying to get him to calm down, yelling at him in broken English to go back to his room, or they will call the police. There is another young man, curiously clad only in a bath towel, whom I take to be French, standing quietly, enigmatically, beside this deranged lout. From all the signs, I take this scene to be the result of an ingested hallucinogen. Possibly given to him by this immodest Frenchman, who now feels guilty and frightened by the monster he has unleashed... A classic scene, replayed everywhere in the West by college freshman a hundred times a week...

I walk past this addled prophet to the loo, but he jumps up and runs at me full-bore. All my sympathy for him evaporates in that instant. This guy wants a confrontation. † "Do you like Street Fighter?? It is a video game!" he shouts in my face.

"No," I say, deeply dismayed at his unexpected frenzy. I brush past him and go into the washroom. When I come out, he is seated again on the floor. The silent man in the bath towel is standing in the same place, and the Thai staff are still angrily telling him to go back to his room. But now a group of seven or eight Swiss girls, office workers on vacation from a town near Basel, are now a few feet from him, roused out of a sound sleep by his carryings on.† They stare at him and talk amongst themselves. Smoking Lucky Strike cigarettes.

"Who is this guy?" I ask them.

"Oh, he's† German," one says nonchalantly, "They always act like this."

Always act like this? Either I have lost touch with German social realities, or her assessment is way off. (Events will prove I have lost touch with German social realitiesó was I ever in touch with them??).

Suddenly, this acid millenialist runs into his room and opens the window, which gives off onto a courtyard three stories below. He climbs out of his window and stands on the ledge. The drop would kill him.

"Hello everybody! I'm Jesus! Don't you remember me? Yes!"

A security guard is now spot-lighting him from down below. He plays a high-powered flashlight up and down the German's face and body, while the tripper delivers his pleas for recognition as Jesus.

We now have a light show! The effects of which cannot be conveyed in words. I'm feeling he's no longer Jesus, but King Kong... I'm momentarily drawn into the performance by this added prop of† dazzling light. The effect becomes archetypal. The King Kong metaphor is too creepily apt. But with that brilliant light, trained on his tortured face, so is the Jesus motif... I'm witnessing a station of the cross... But I snap out of it...††

"What nationality are you?" I ask soberly from the adjacent window of the vestibule, the Swiss girls completely agog at his high-wire act.

"I'm German," he says, his response is oddly matter of fact. But he will not be brought back to earth for long, and swiftly recommences loudly vociferating his joy to humanity. I want to ask him why he's not speaking Aramaic if he's Jesus, but decide against goading him (what if I piss him off or confuse him and he jumps!).

I can't help but feel this scene unrolling before me is too much like something you'd read from in some musty, mildewed book on sixties acid culture, for sale at the bottom of a cheapie bin at a used book store. A book water damaged, with yellowed pages of clinical case reports, written by earnest sociologists and psychologists in the sixties and seventies.

But no, it's happening now...

"Yes, everybody, Yes! I'm Jesus! There is no need for fighting!" Now he comes back inside and sits down exactly where he was before. We all watch him warily.

"What drug did you take?" I ask him. This particular question seems to bother him, takes the wind out of his sailsówe, his captive audience, aren't supposed to look behind the scenes... That banal question reduces his grandiloquent feelings and chatter to the level of a mere drug experience, one he bought with filthy, unchristian lucre. Not to mention a reminder of the person he was before he became the self-appointed savior of humanity. He refuses to answer. I ask again. But he just shakes his head and tries to get back into savior persona. The Swiss girls talk to him in German for a little while. He seems partially lucid and responds to their questions from the side of his mouth. I have no idea what they are talking about.

Deciding I've had enough, I go back to my room, pitying the poor wretch, hoping the cops won't show. But twenty minutes later, I hear the heavy tramping of boots past my door. I open it and see a Thai motorcycle cop, and the security guard with the flashlight. They are walking down the narrow hall towards the vestibule in question. The cop cranes his neck and peers into my room briefly. I nod to the cop who, surprisingly, nods back deferentially. Now I'm really confused. Why is he looking into my room? I walk back towards the vestibule. The Swiss girls are still there, chain smoking, some are seated on the floor.

"What's the latest?" I ask.

"The police are here, but the German has disappeared."

"Perhaps he went back up to heaven," I snicker, a few of the Swiss girls giggle.

A man hunt is now in full swing.

Hysteria is a contagious condition, and I see that one of the Thai staff has literally become a gibbering idiot. She has probably never seen anything like this, and keeps repeating, "Buddha, Buddha," over and over again in an incoherent, strangely threatening, way. Is she begging the deity for help? Or incensed that this farang should bring chaos and disorder to a holy (guest) house?† A Swiss girl puts her arm around the woman and tells her to, "Drink some whisky".† But the charwoman rushes away down the stairs, in flight from all this crazy farang self-indulgence.

A very creepy feeling has now descended on this guest house. Everything is quiet againóbut there is a deranged maniac at large, and nobody knows where he is... we're all freaked... We all stand silently stupefied...

The police have left saying they will come back in thirty minutes. Another staff member, a little shrew of a woman, says she's going to look in his room. I follow her out of curiosity, thinking this will make good copy for an article on Tripzine. She opens his door and looks around. This guy seems to have money. His baggage and personal effects show they have been selected with care. She goes through his wallet, an expensive, handmade one of good German leather... The Frenchman, who is lodged in the room next door, pops out and reprimands the woman for going through his friend's personal belongings. I ask him in French if he knows the guy and what the story is behind all the commotion. He won't answer. He's still clad in the bath towel. The woman peeps into the Frenchman's room and spots the German lunatic hiding under the bed. She lets out a yell.

I can't take much more melodrama, and decide to call it a night for the second time...

The next day, as I check out, bound for Cambodia, I ask the receptionist, who witnessed the anarchy, what finally happened. She said both "bad men" checked out a few hours before me.

"And the police?"

"They never came back..."

Part of me is relieved to hear no one was delivered into the clutches of the Thai police, a nasty bunch of hooligans in their own right. But another part of me thinks the guy got off too lightly. Here this jerk disturbs an entire guest house at four in the morning, scares the daylights out of the staff, composed mostly of hard-working, older women not long for this world, and no doubt has the time of his life; gets off without a scratch... A fun way to spend an evening... a good German vacation, nicht war?...

But there is something else not right either. That guest house was packed. There must have been fifty people staying there the night before. How comes it that only myself and a handful of other people came out to witness the spectacle? A disturbance that no one could ever sleep through? Could it be that everyone else, all those nice and polite Europeans and Japanese and Koreans, lay wild-eyed under pulled-up sheets...† cowering in their rooms?...

But I have no time to think about human fear and weakness, I have a plane to catch ...

Tags : LSD thailand bangkok
Rating : Teen - Drugs Profanity
Posted on: 2005-11-01 00:00:00