"The Apricot Lady" - The Misadventures of Little Rudger

The first time Little Rudger took acid was at the local shopping mall. Where else would a group of five teenage rookies decide to go for a debut psychedelic experience? Anyone who has experience with hallucinogens would likely recommend a secluded area away from other people, but what did Little Rudger or his friends know? This was their first taste of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."

After the boys got off the bus in front of the mall, Wahiim hand each of them a tiny piece of paper with a red rose on it. Little Rudger placed the tiny piece of paper on his tongue, and each of his friends did likewise. Then the group head into the mall. It takes about 45 minutes for dica to take affect, which was about long enough for Kraze and Turq to become fixated on going to Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburger spot. It became a group mission to trek all the way to the other side of the mall to get there. A simple task for a group of level headed individuals. But not so simple for five boys who were just taking their first steps "Through the Looking Glass."

So many windows. So many bright colorful objects to get stuck staring and gawking at. The brightest and shiniest of those windows belonged to a gift shop full of lava-lamps, plasma-globes, disco-balls, and black-light posters. Like moths to flames, the boys were lured in and their brains were immediately "fried." At least thirty minutes and ten-thousand laughs were spent inside the store staring at "trippy" posters, discovering the true meaning of their existence. Some of the posters had intricate designs that looked like regular everyday patterns under normal circumstances, but now in an altered state appeared to flow and weave as if liquidized. There was a ball of light, no, a miniature sun of joy that exist inside the chest of each of the five boys. No one could say a word, but the teeth clinching grin on each of their faces told them that each was feeling the same thing. It's a difficult sensation to describe to someone who hasn't experienced it for themselves before.

What seemed like an eternity later, the group finally escaped the neon clutches of the gift shop. After getting stuck staring at another store window or two, the boys finally saw the sign they were looking for; Wendy's! The group rushed forward with a rush of youthful enthusiasm which was brought to a screeching halt when what seemed like the entire restaurant, employees and customers alike, looked up in unison and stared directly at the group of rambunctious teens scornfully. Little Rudger took one glance at his buddies and the entire group of friends burst into hysterical laughter, turning around immediately to exit the restaurant. Mission accomplished?

Back in Little Rudger's day, ride-sharing took the form of a yellow car which looked a lot like a police car but somehow felt more depressing to ride inside of. Wahiim and Kraze had wandered off back to the bus stop together, so it was just Turq, Mega, and Little Rudger that got into the taxi. The driver was a guy who looked like he was straight out of the movie Big Trouble In Little China. Yes, the splitting image of Lo Pan was giving the boys a ride home. He stroked his beard and laughed as he talked to his partner in the passenger seat using a language that the boys could not understand. Of course, in the boys' current mind-state, that could have been English.

The miniature sun in Little Rudger's chest was shrinking, but giggle juice was still coursing through his veins. He stared out the window of the cab at the glossy iridescence of the motor oil on the asphalt, looking like an oily rainbow. There was an awkward tension in the cab. Little Rudger and Turq were silent, the kind of silent that only a teenager who thinks they're doing something wrong and doesn't want to get caught would think is normal. Mega, however, didn't give a fuck. He was sitting in the middle of the back seat and broke the silence by saying softly, but intentionally loud enough for the driver to hear; "Let's go to my house and be gay, guys." The boys broke out in hysterical laughter as the taxi driver's eyes suddenly started to glow like Godzilla just before combustion. Then the entire taxi cab explode into a burst of brilliant blue flames!

Suddenly, the boys were sitting in the backyard of a house party. Confused. People were passing around balloons and taking huffs of air out of them that made their voices sound like Optimus Prime. Billiam was one of those people. He took two huffs from a balloon, then immediately fell on his back and started laugh-yelling at the dark night sky above him. Everyone else at the party stood there yell-laughing at Billiam.

There was an apricot tree over on the side of the yard. The fruits were ripe and in full bloom. In a backyard party full of teenagers, some apricots are bound to fall off of a tree and get stepped on incidentally. This is exactly what had already happened, to no one's notice or surprise. I mean, honestly, who gives a fuck about some apricots at a teenage house party?

An old woman in a pink cotton nightgown came out into the yard from the sliding backdoor of the house. She had long, straight grey hair and a soft voice. She was likely the mother of whomever was throwing the party. The boys didn't know if she approved of the shenanigans occurring in the backyard, or was merely oblivious, but her breaking point was discovered that night.

The woman walked silently around the yard of wasted teens drinking, smoking, and huffing balloons. She didn't seem bothered by any of it. She spoke briefly to a teen which was assumed to be her son, and then kept strolling through the yard. About three feet from where Turq, Mega, and Little Rudger were sitting, the woman froze in her tracks and gasped. "Oh my!" she said. The boys froze. It had been about four or five hours since they had dropped the little piece of red rose paper on their tongues, but they were sure they were still feeling something, and even more sure that their pupils were still abnormally dilated. The jig was up. The trio had been caught. Parents would be called. Scoldings would be in order. Groundings would be implemented. Or would they?

Instead of pointing at the three boys sitting awkwardly on an old-fashioned fold-out lawn chair directly in front of her, the woman squat down and gazed at a pair of smashed apricots in the lawn. "Oh my goodness!" she exclaimed. "Look at these beautiful apricots, and no one's going to eat them." Little Rudger and his friends could hardly contain their giggles at this point. There's no way that this was actually happening, was it? Nobody walks past a yard full of drunk and high teenagers unfazed and then stops to mourn a pair of dead apricots, do they?

The woman began to sob and covered her face with her hands as she kneel over the smashed apricots. "This party is over." she said softly. Then she stood up and walked silently back into the house.

*Disclaimer: The Misadventures of Little Rudger is a work of literary fiction.

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