During my early years as a street performer I spent a lot of time tiptoeing around junkies, drunks, and sex fiends that made up street life. Addicts and their vices of choice were a hazard of daily life and one I successfully steered clear.
Addiction was something I didn’t much empathise with. The rapture of a crowd’s applause, the sense of achievement of a practised trick pulled off to perfection, the self worth realised at a plan well played. These things were what I craved from ordinary people, tourists, children, anyone who would give me a little of their time.
The distractions, as I saw them, only hindered my goals. I watched those who let their addictions rule their lives and pitied them the waste of potential, of energy and spirit. I watched as people became husks. Single-minded zombies that would do whatever it took to feed their craving for a few hours. They ceased to be people to me, just hazards, and cadavers that didn’t know it was time to lie down. I am not proud of these thoughts, they are what they are.
Hadn’t Houdini done without drink? Didn’t Lustig write in his Ten Commandments, Never be drunk? Why would I be any different? Indeed, it could be said I pursued the magical arts with an addict’s focus, but with the achievement of indisputable results no one would have considered it pitiful or a waste of energy and potential. In fact, my skills in sleight of hand are seen as a credit to me, if I may say.
Then I was made aware of Spiral Dust, a substance not of this world, that allowed insights into places beyond and into the basic stuff that makes all things. I pursued knowledge about Spiral Dust as an extension to my life-long search for the magical arts and knew that my efforts were not seen as wasteful, but would be of credit to me when the time was right. I reasoned that if I could control the effects of the dust, then I would be directly linked to the energies of the universe, and finally have the powers of real magic.
I had reasons to fear the consequences of using such a substance. They are internal to me and I feared facing again those events I would not want my enemies to experience. I long for them to stay safely locked away behind forgotten memory. There would be no reason to take the dust if, as it was thought, the dust was an internal not an external voyage.
So, the one step I did not take for the longest time was to actually use the substance. I told myself I did not know enough, it would not pay to rush such a process. I asked the experts, searched the archives, even hunted out dubious characters to gain what they knew. No one knew what the dust was truly capable of, though tantalising theories were expounded.
It was one such theory, based on good science, that finally convinced me to try. The same companion that discovered the theory also supported limited experimentation, I had my pusher. I admit to trepidation over the experiment, even with all the processes and procedures for safety. I was stepping into an unknown world and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. To be the first to really make strides in understanding of the dust, and above all the tantalising idea that I alone could control the experience.
Maybe all addicts think that. Maybe they all conspire against themselves into thinking that for them, it will be different. I believe I must have. I was wrong.
As an experiment it was a complete success. The data was collected, the experience recorded, no serious side effects witnessed or experienced, no physical addiction. The fact that I could not ‘touch the infinite’ or control my experience as I had hoped was of little consequence to those around me. They were pleased that they had not created a junkie or even worse damaged the experimental subject.
But, I have changed.
I am haunted by the feeling of…weightlessness. Not just the physical sense of floating, but also of a weightless mind and spirit. In that 20 minutes, I was free of fear and frustration. Past memories, present difficulties, future dangers did not exist in that space and I discovered the appeal of oblivion. In the dream of the dust I was nothing and everything.
Now my everyday is heavy and onerous in comparison to memory of weightlessness. Even the thought of those who supported me in my pursuits are tainted. You only have to see the evidence of my own words. These are my friends, those I am coming to consider family. In my mind I make them mad scientists toying with their powerless victim.
I said I would not have had it any other way and that still holds true. There is no one I would wish this burden onto. If there had been a way of finding out this knowledge without taking the dust I…no I wanted to experience it for myself, with my own senses, in my own mind.
There is no going back now. I find I am an addict and now understand that addiction is for life.