At last the voices went quiet and the footsteps faded into silence. Still I waited another thirty minutes. Hearing nothing more I shifted the ceiling tile and lowered my sweating self to the floor, without making a sound. I had entered the building during business hours at around three o’clock on the heels of a tour group, which I joined at the back and pretended to be a part of. I lagged a little behind them and once they turned a corner in the corridor towards the elevators, I made a dash for the stairwell and quickly made it up to the fourth floor, two stairs at a time. Using a large metal storage cabinet of some sort, conveniently located against the wall in the corridor, I climbed up on to it and was able to pull myself into a hiding spot in the ceiling. I wedged myself above the ventilation pipes, ductwork, florescent light fixtures and wiring with only the concrete ceiling above me. I believed that I would be completely out of sight unless someone stood directly below me and looked straight up, perhaps in contemplation of their meagre existence or perhaps where to get their next cup of coffee.
Holding a cold metal inch and a half pipe I swung my body to the ground. When I hit the speckled white tile floor, my knees buckled a bit from impact and inactivity, but otherwise, I was feeling in fine form, excitement and adrenaline rushed through me.. I had planned on getting in here for some time and knew exactly where everything I wanted access to would be found. The intel I had acquired was mostly from reviewing the social media accounts of the company and the employees that worked in this part of the building. It was amazing how you could quickly find a staffing list online and then a little digging would get you access to the selfies and photos taken of their coworkers. I didn’t care about the people in the scenes, it was everything going on in the background that I was looking to discover. Piecing the scene together from a couple of dozen photos, I felt like I had a pretty good handle on the layout and where everything was.
I hadn’t been able to ascertain the security guards movements, but every time I passed the front of the building over the past two weeks I could see the lone guard either sitting at a desk in the lobby, chin to chest doing something on his phone or outside the front doors, pacing and vaping, phone still in hand.
I knew the room I was looking for was 408, as Kathy Johnston, one of the researchers, had posted a selfie from the hallway, in-front of the door. The door being ajar, I could clearly see racks and racks of mycelium and psilocybin, in various stages of growth.
The company had set up shop on the MTU campus. Despite existing to increase the wealth of their shareholders at PSILI, Psychedelic Society Investments Lifestyle Inc.,
the company had somehow managed to access research facilities on a publicly funded university campus. They did this while attempting to get patents on substances created by nature and utilized by indigenous cultures for spiritual exploration over millennia. I was happy to see renewed interest in these substances that had been criminalized and deemed too dangerous to even research, decades ago. I still had strong feelings about the Corp-redelic agenda. I did not trust business to come to the table in the spirt of real interest in the potential for the spiritual, emotional and cultural advancement of humanity, through the ingestion of psychedelic substances. Having injected
Standing in front of the windowless slate grey door to room 408, I tentatively attempted to turn the knob. Locked. In the pictures I did not see a keypad at the side of the door, so I came only expecting a lock and was not disappointed. I brought a couple of tools along to support such a situation. I took off my backpack and pulled out an eight inch metal pry-bar with chipped orange paint, and with a little effort managed to bend back the lock plate, exposing a thin slice of the deadbolt, between the frame and the door. So far this had been a faultlessly silent adventure. Now I needed to take a chance and took out a Makita cordless angle grinder, that I boosted from a Home Depot last Thursday. The disc blade easily fit thru the gap I pried between the door and the frame.
As we were on the fourth floor and I didn’t expect the underpaid security to do any rounds, I wasn’t too concerned about the noise from the grinder. I started it up and when It hit the deadbolt, sparks flew every which way, recalling memories from a 1991 show at the RPM by German industrial band Einsturzande Neubauten. I aimed most of the sparks towards the ground as it slowly cut thru the deadbolt. Because the metal was hard after a little bit the worn blade could no longer reach thru the gap, having been significantly decreased in size by the friction. I had anticipated this and quickly changed out the worn blade for a new disc. A few minutes later the deadbolt split and I slowly opened the door, revealing row upon stacked row of more magic mushrooms than a hippie commune could get through in a decade.
Putting my tools in my backpack and sliding it onto my back, I entered the room and closed the door behind me. Despite the strong industrial fans pulling the odour and moisture from the room, there was still a dank muskiness in the air, which reminded me of the farms, which surrounded the small Southern Ontario town where I grew up. I was overwhelmed by all the varieties of psilocybin I could see. I could identify Liberty Caps, Golden Teachers, Flying Saucers and Penis Envy among the dozen or so genus I could see. Pulling two blue translucent garbage bags from my grey backpack, I walked the rows, filling smaller black bags with handfuls of the ripe, raw fungi, placing those bags into the larger ones until I knew I couldn’t carry anymore. It felt like each bag weighed about twenty-five pounds, as its moist contents dropped and sagged towards the floor.
With the rounded, weighted bags slung over my shoulders and my tools secure in my backpack, I walked funnily to the southeast stairwell and made my way out an exit far from the engrossed guard by the front door. After getting about two blocks away, I hailed a cab and made my way home. Weighing myself on the bathroom scale and then weighing myself holding the bags I was able to determine that I had 58 pounds of raw psychedelic mushrooms. Once dried they would reduce in weight to about 6 pounds. If I sold them off at $100 an oz, I could net $9,600. If I sold them as grams for $10, I could make about $26,000, though it would take a lot longer, and add a lot more risk.
Either way the room was starting to get more colourful, as I yawned. I could feel that familiar tension in my body starting to take over, my head was becoming more open to the inputs that we usually ignore in our day to day reality. Colours became brighter, the room around me became more vibrant, the Bill Laswell Dub coming out of my small computer speakers, took on more vibrancy of sound. I could feel the bass, from deep inside of me. In other words the handful of raw mushrooms I ate 20 minutes ago in the cab was starting to kick in and I felt at home in the universe, once again.
So good. Don’t ever doubt your talents as a writer. Nobody goes to the same dark corners that you do. I was listening to Laswell a few days ago – the ambient translations of Marley. ♠️