Word on the street was that I could escape here; on a path that belonged only to me, and it would take me anywhere I had the will and determination to go. When I opened the door to Cafe Passé, I was surer than ever they had lied to me. I went in anyway, unable to pass up the possibility that they might be right.
Inside, red neon tangled obscure runes on the walls, the secret language of rebirth and deliverance, that combined with the warmer than average temperature, to give the room a womblike ambiance.
There were five round tables, covered in white clothes that went all the way down to the floor. Each table had one chair, and a Rever. Three of the tables were already occupied by Reverants, dreaming travelers, whose entire right hands were concealed inside the shiny silver Rever’s, as their current existence was being over written by the music and drugs. One look told me they were completely outside themselves, their bodies abandoned in the wake of a chemically harmonious liftoff.
Scanning the room, I studied them, and wondered if their choices had taken them to the past, the potential future, or a sideways reality that was better than this one. My fists clenched in impotent fury and doubt. I needed this to be real!
“It’s a simple process,” the woman taking my payment, and scheduling my appointment told me. “Just come in, sit down at the table, and put your hand in the Rever. It hurts like death, but when the music starts, and drugs are pumping, it’s all good.”
Determined to do this right, my drug of choice was 835T, commonly known as BEST. One hit cost me a lifetime, but with BEST, one is all it took. “If you hit the ride right, you can slide right off this world, and into the best one you could ever have. Hell, even better, you get to stay there. A soul reborn into a better version of the life you’ve already failed.” Technically, it was suicide, but that was illegal, and so the talking heads spun Revering into a lifestyle choice; a do over, to make things right.
Revering wasn’t something done on a whim. It took money, planning and commitment. I’d thought about this for years, how old I would be, what time I would do it, right down to the minute, but for all of my life what had eluded me was the track. I had lived in this cursed existence for forty-two years before I found it.
I heard it only once, just a snippet, but I knew the Beastie Boys, Shadrach was the track I needed to take me there. It was old, and at first that pissed me off. I could have gone so much sooner than forty-two, but then it hit me. I needed to be ready, to get my head right, and even though the song had been written a hundred years before I was born, and fifty years before Revering existed, I wasn’t ready until now.
Clutching this this pounding gritty key in the curves of my grey matter, I would compress my essence into invisible waves of soul glide, and aimed like a bullet at an alternate universe, I would fire myself into the life of the man I should have been, in a world where I would be the fourth man in the fire, and I would find all the things lost or denied to me because once upon a time I turned left.
I approached the first empty table, and noticed a card that read, All Along the Watchtower. Someone wanted to be a hero, a mystical knight. That was someone else. I put the card down, trying to image who would choose such a fate? I thought of lingering to meet them, or at least see this would be hero with my own eyes, but I shook it off, refusing the distraction of a look into a world where I would never belong.
At the last empty table I saw Shadrach on the card. I pulled the chair out, and sat down quickly, afraid even now I would change my mind after coming so far. That cowardice and self-doubt were just two of the many reasons I wanted out. I took a deep breath, looked at the door, maybe hoping for a glimpse of the mystical knight, stuck my hand into the Rever, and started to slide.
©J.A. Brown, Storyteller-January 17, 2017