Nicole looked at me and asked, “Are you coming tonight?”
I fidgeted about in the recliner that I had just sat down in, giving a blatant display of discomfort in the question, knowing that what I would say could cause a bit of resentment. I picked up the book lying on the nightstand next to the chair and held it up.
“I just want to kick back and read, chill, clear my mind. Go ahead though, have a good time, and I will see you later.”
“Really, Don Quixote? Didn’t you read that before?”
“Yeah, but it’s been like 5 years ago, and I loved it. I mean this crazy old man running around the countryside thinking he’s a knight fighting for the honor of this maiden, who’s nothing more than a peasant whore. Then his trusty sidekick Sancho that’s just like this ordinary working-class guy caught up with this crazy old fart. It’s awesome. Besides, after I read a while, I’ll be all nice and relaxed. You’ll be out. It’ll be utterly quiet in here. I can just meditate and try that astral projection crap we’ve been laughing about together.”
Nicole gave me a cute smile as she cocked her head, “Chris, your such an introvert, but an interesting one at any rate. You sure you don’t want to come? It’s SizzleBrains opening tonight, and you know there will be shit going around there that’ll make you astral travel.”
Nicole waltzed over to me, pushing my book aside, and leaned in to give me a kiss, which I returned in favor with warmth and genuine affection.
“Ohh, the temptations. You go on ahead, you little social butterfly, and have a good time. You won’t be upset at me if I don’t go, will you?”
“Chris, we go out plenty. I know you like your alone time and reading, so no worries. You won’t be upset with me partying it up without you?”
“Of course, I get jealous. You know I do. But we agreed that we would be in an open relationship, and you know I still love you. We’ve been there, done that.”
I pulled her back down to my lap and gave her another kiss, and stroked her hair. She and I were a fun couple, and we were both young and were happy with what we had between each other. She gave me a smile and stood back up, and started for the bedroom.
“Ok, then, Chris. Don’t wait up for me because it will probably be tomorrow midday before I get in, but before I go,” she took off her shirt, and her plump breasts jiggled as she tossed the shirt toward me.
She was now just in black laced panties that were partially opaque, revealing a hint of pubic hair through the material. The sight filled me with lust. She turned and strutted toward the bedroom door. Once there, she entered the bedroom then peeked back through the door, just her face exposed to me. She leaned out a hand and gave me a beckoning sign with her fore finger.
“Now come fuck me before I get in the shower.”
I was out of the chair and in the bedroom before my book hit the floor. An hour later, feeling relieved and happier, I sat back in the recliner after retrieving Cervantes from the floor. Nicole had showered, dressed, and went to the corner bar to have drinks before heading to the show. I settled back into the chair and inhaled the quietness of the apartment.
Even the neighbors must have been out as there was no sound vibrating through the thin plaster walls from a stereo or the moans from a bedroom tryst. Only our cat, Smokey, came to make a small fuss but soon settled into my lap and purred himself to a blissful catnap as I raised my book in hand to reading level.
Part One: The quality and manner of life of that famous gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha…
I was only ten pages in when my energized sex batteries began to discharge, and exhaustion started to creep across my being. I nodded, dropping the book onto Smokey, sending him scampering off my lap into the bedroom with a meow that clearly said, asshole.
The movement woke me back up for a moment. It stirred my direction of thought from reading to another form of relaxation. I had been experimenting with different ways of stress release and clearing the mind. And like many wise sages of the past had found that sex, followed by calm reading, then meditation seemed to be a good formula.
Nicole and I had seen these late-night ads about Astral Travel. The ads came on about the same time as the psychic reading, or the "if you’re lonely, we got girls waiting to chat" call line ads aired. We always got a kick out of them, particularly when we were puffing on a bong.
“Hahaha, here it is again, Nicole….” I began coughing and choking as smoke bellowed from out of my poofed-up cheeks.
“Watch it, man, you’re going to spill bong water all over the place, dude! Oh yeah! The astral travel ad. This shit’s dope, hahaha!”
We would crack up at this swamy looking guy sitting on some carpet talking about the third eye and how to project your astral self and have out-of-body experiences.
“I’m going to try it, man.”
“Oh, shut up, don’t be serious. You know you don’t believe that shit.”
“Sure! But what the hell? Consider it an anthropological experiment. Who knows. I bet it’d be fun. But, oh yeah, give me that back. Ughh, what were we talking about?’
That is how I came up with my new routine of sex followed by reading, followed by meditating, and trying to astral project. Although I didn’t always get all of them accomplished each try, I was excited to have the time this night.
I decided I was hungry and thought that I should eat just a bit before meditating. It’s not the best thing to do before trying to enter a transcendental state. Still, if I didn’t satisfy my hunger cravings, I knew that I would not be able to focus on the breathing exercises that I had been practicing.
I made my way to the kitchen and opened the fridge. Looking inside was not very satisfying, for there wasn’t much to look at. A few boxes of old Chinese delivery. After opening one and seeing what was forming on the rice, I immediately tossed it along with the other two cartons straight into the trash. There was a bowl of some sort of stew sitting on the center rack of the fridge.
A memory of something Nicole was telling me the day before about a stew she had made, but what was it? I picked up the bowl and gave it a quick look over. It didn’t look or smell foul.
The concoction looked like a vegetable stew with mushrooms in it. I pulled out a spoon from the drawer, gave the fricassee a stir, then scooped up a tiny bit and tasted it. The flavor was good, even cold. So I gave it a move, then placed the bowl in the microwave for a couple of minutes, taking it out for another stir then back in for another minute. The finished product came out steaming hot and smelled splendid. I then sat at the kitchen table with the stew and a box of crackers. I added some crackers and blew on each spoonful, grabbing a bit of carrot, and a mushroom at each shovel.
Smokey got a whiff of the meal and came meowing into the kitchen. He jumped up onto the table, coming straight at my bowl. He knew this pissed me off, and I gave him a hefty shove off the table to the floor. That aggravated him, and away he went grumbling.
I didn’t want to get too full. Knowing I would fall asleep as soon as I started my breathing exercises on a full stomach, so I gulped down another spoon of mushrooms. Man, they were good. They had a peculiar earthy taste, but Nicole was always coming home with some homegrown garden goodies. After the final bites, I returned the bowl, spoon in, back into the fridge for later. I then proceeded back to the living room.
Once back in the living room, I pulled out a bedroll that I could assume a half-ass lotus position on and rolled it onto the floor. I then dug through our CDs and found my trance mix disc labeled with a bunch of smeared sharpie ink that now looked like gibberish.
“This should work perfectly,” I reflected, popping the CD into the player and turning the volume to a mid-level. I then made my attempt at sitting in a lotus position with my legs somewhat crossed and my hands at my knees. The music began as soft acid jazz that felt hypnotic. I then started the breathing exercises I had learned from a video that I had watched on meditation.
“Inhale deeply,” I would inhale for a count of 3,2,1, and exhale slowly 3,2,1, then repeat. “Clear your mind,” I began to chant to myself over and over while breathing and doing my best to let my mind go at ease and clear out thoughts as they came to me.
Anyone who has never tried clearing their mind should try it; it is rather tricky. Don Quixote kept popping into my mind. The old man in his tarnished armor haphazardly placed together as neatly as he could possibly do so. I tried wiping the image from my mind but could not succeed, so I decided to go with it, thinking this may be the path to astral projection. I soon found I replaced the old man’s image with that of myself in the suit of armor. I still looked like the old man, but I knew that it was me.
“Maybe I’m getting somewhere with this,” I thought, still picturing myself in this armor that formed into my body as if it were one with me. I began to notice that my gut was feeling knotted and a bit nauseated, my mouth cottony-like and thirsty. I also felt a sense of elation and began to chuckle. I looked down at my arms, and they appeared normal, but I felt as if they were in sheaths of armor, and my hands were steel gauntlets. I was standing, and I looked down and saw myself sitting in the lotus position on the floor, eyes shut and deep breathing.
“I’ve done it! I’ve astral projected!” I told myself in blissful excitement.
I walked around my body, observing every side of me in amazement. It looked as if I were floating on a liquid surface, and I noticed that colors all around me had become very vivid, almost loud to my eyes. My hearing also seemed to be fine-tuned, and the music sounded like a living force. How long had I been meditating and breathing to get here? I noticed the tunes stopped, and the disc player began to rotate to another CD.
“Must have taken about 30 minutes,” I thought, knowing that was how long my trance CD had in playtime. Thinking I heard movement toward the bedroom, I turned my gaze toward the bedroom door. There sat Smokey, and he looked angry. Angry, shit, he appeared downright rabid. His body began to fluff out in size, and his orange fur became flames. He must have grown to the size of a large dog, and he looked ferocious.
Smokey snarled an evil hiss, and saliva dripped from his giant fangs as his green eyes glowed neon under orange fur of flame. He got into a crouch attack stance facing toward me, but and tail up with head and front lowered into a pouncing attack. Suddenly the CD player came alive again as it found its new CD and the volume thundered out,
When there’s lightning, you know it always brings me down
‘Cause it’s free, and I see that it’s me
Who’s lost and never found
“Rainbow in the dark? How could they?” I questioned as I turned back toward Smokey, who was now in complete charge at me, a ball of fur, flame, and demon-eyed spit! I could see my Don Quixote come into action as I took a shielding stance and blocked the flying flaming furball away as he tried to rake my face with flailing claws. Smokey bounced off my blocking maneuver and landed into an arching hiss onto the lounge chair. I wasted no time and pounced onto the giant beast. In moments I had him pinned beneath me as cat, chair, and I went crashing backward onto the floor, knocking over the nightstand and a large potted plant. Ronnie James Dio kept blaring,
Do your demons, do they ever let you go?
When you’ve tried, do they hide, deep inside
Is it someone that you know
Smokey managed to break free of my grasps as I fought with the giant plant that seemed to wrap its leafy arms all about my face and neck, trying to choke me out. Once I freed myself from the green monster, I found Smokey sitting over on the couch, now back to his regular size and licking his paws. He gave me a look like I was crazy for a second (perhaps I was), then continued his grooming.
I regained my composure and looked about. I noticed that my body was no longer sitting on the pad on the floor. No matter, I had read that you may have to search for your physical self to reenter the earthly plane once in astral form. I figured I would use my Don Quixote projection and see what I could discover of Nicole, my lovely Dulcinea, and protect her honor.
As soon as I stepped through the door, the world began to close in on me. The hallway to the stairs and the staircase itself felt dark and menacing. Even once on the street, the feeling became progressively oppressive. It felt like everyone was staring at me with evil intent. Still, I brought back to mind Don Quixote and that I was in an astral body, untouchable. At least it gave me enough strength to reach the corner bar where the lovely Dulcinea should still be. Would she be able to see me? I thought, being that I was between this plane and another. I shrugged it off and continued into the bar at the corner. Man, existing between planes sure makes you feel weird, not to mention the sights and sounds you perceive. Into the bar, The AceHole I proceeded.
Holy cow, the place was packed. And the freaks in there, it was otherworldly. I knew that I must be seeing beings from other planes of existence blending into my own by the sure looks of them, and the music, my God, it was horrific. But I spotted her, Nicole, my love Dulcinea, at the bar getting a glass of some alien-looking drink. I shook the fears off for a moment and gathered up my image of the Quixote, and proceeded toward her. I got up right behind her as she turned around with a drink in hand that I’m sure had an eyeball on a stick floating in it.
“Chris! You decided to come out! Yeah! Come on. I want to introduce you to some of my friends.”
“You can see me? I’m astral projecting. I did it! I actually did it!”
She gave me a weird look, then half-smiled as she took the stick out of the drink with the eyeball on it and popped it into her mouth. Then she gave me a huge smile and a forked tongue of a snake projected from between her teeth while she fiddled with the stick between her fangs.
“Follow me,” she hissed like Medusa.
I was mortified. She walked by me into the crowd of other-dimensional beings, appearing to meld into them like paint mixing into another paint. Then she was gone, and all these other creatures stood staring at me with their reptilian faces and eyes.
My Don Quixote was with me no more, my introverted self was back. It was more than I could stand. I backed out slowly, bumping into some of the creatures on my way to the door. They hissed and gave me evil stares, spilling some of their blood concoctions from their hands in the process.
I made my way back home, got back into my chair, and spent, I don’t know, how many hours in search of my natural body. The next day, Nicole woke me up sprawled out on the floor.
“Hey, where did you go last night? Did you know that you ate a huge portion of shroom stew?” she began laughing, “You bet you were astral projecting last night! Hahaha!”
As the thought settled in, all I could do was crack up too, “More stew?”