Opium is a beautiful drug. It smells, tastes and looks like just what I think a drug should be.

Last night, I bought 2 grams of a red crystaline substance that I had previously no experience of, for $15/gram.* That alone was a pretty harrowing experience. The dealer was a friend of a friend, who lived in the dorms, and had just come to acquire a large stash of various illicit substances. He had ecstasy, pot, cocaine, and opium. (Possibly more, but I didn't ask.) When I first arrived in the dealer's room, there were about seven other people already there, either hanging out or buying.

Several of the people were just leaving, after having telling the story of their R.A. catching them with drug paraphenalia. The dealer warned them to clean their room, which was wise since there have been several publicised busts in that dorm this year.

My friends and I had just finished making our deal, when one of those previous fellows came back into the room, saying that another had just been arrested. This caused a gret deal of confusion and alarm, so we hurried ourselves out and ended up not paying for some of our drugs.

After rushing to the relative safety of our home, we decided we must smoke our spoils. I dusted a bowl of pot with some of the powdery crystal and proceeded to smoke. I knew before hand that opium doesn't burn, it melts, so in order to smoke it, you just hold a flame nearby.

The smell and taste were what hit me first. It was such a delicious smell, like that of Mystic Temple incense, and the taste perfumed that of the marijuana very well. The high ensued very quickly and powerfully.

Suddenly, virtually anything was entertainment. I watched television, listened to afternoon nap streaming from live365.com, and drank excellent coffee and enjoyed every bit of it all.

We played on everything for a while, mostly reading and the nodes we created were both voted down, although we thought them to be very funny and creative. Figures.

We ended up smoking quite a bit more, and I eventually went to sleep at about 3:00am. Much like marijuana, the opium made for very heavy sleep, but without the grogginess in the morning. Contrary to pot, however, I felt entirely lucid for much of the time. I had no trouble communicating through speech or writing. I had a few very strange dreams throughout the night, or they could have been hallucinations, because sometime I wasn't quite sure if I was awake or asleep.

* I've heard there are other colours, but I don't know anything about them. If anyone else knows more about the types and prices, please add to this writeup.

It was a hot summer's day and Russell, as per usual, was late. I didn't know his friends but lounging on the front deck they identified me easily enough, button-head bobbing precariously along the sidewalk to this new and unknown location. We introduced ourselves, made small talk about our juvenalia (prompted by the Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits CD in the boom box) and waited for the main attraction.

A couple of hours later they arrived, with what seemed like a dozen garbage-bags full of what were claimed to be opium poppies acquired from a vacant lot. Like good little socialists, we formed a frighteningly efficient assembly line in the back-yard; (leaf-and-stem-)strippers, sap-drainers and makers-of-cucumber-sandwiches (no point in being uncivilized in our illegal endeavours...)

This was an exception for me - I don't drink, marijuana is such a cliché (in this neck of the woods at least) but this was an opportunity I simply could not pass up. If you're going to do something stupid, go for the Bozo Crown, you know what I mean?

There weren't quite enough chairs for everyone to sit in so at any given moment there were a handful of layabouts making pretenses at playing croquet in the lawn behind us until the last of the balls was devoured by the shrubbery. After labouring diligently for an hour or so under the blistering sun I made myself small with the reference work which inspired our labours (Opium for the Masses), curious to know if our tea-making endeavour was ill-conceived, poorly-executed or just optimistic - not that I didn't trust our guide, merely that I know him as not always having the best head for details. There I learned that the reason we were probably having such problems extracting the sap from the seed-heads was because the plants weren't quite "ripe" yet. This would result, we found, in an ill-tasting broth with no medicinal properties save a vile flavouring which could not be masked even when mixed with more convenionally tasty boiled plant parts.

Determined to get their high regardless of means, the booze was broken out and I made my exit, briefly pausing to filtch one of the two remaining baggies of un-boiled poppy parts just in case. Why did I do it? a) These were my friends I was stealing from, b) I -knew- it didn't work, and c) even if it had, I probably wouldn't have used it. What can I say? The psychology of narcotics is a strange one to say the least.

I was edgy on my way home, recalling that opium possession in Canada is a crime equivalent to heroin possession (as the latter is made of the former), measured by weight and guessing that I probably had enough in my zip-lock bag to put me away for life I was silently cursing my blasted need to be conspicuous wherever I go. Paranoia aside, I made it home and concealed my ill-gotten weed refuse in my bedroom, where it was forgotten until I moved out six months later and my parents discovered a neatly-sealed bag of mould hidden behind a bookshelf. Had it been pot? A cut of cordon bleu? A slice of cheese perhaps? For an ironic once (that is, this being the only time I actually was up to anything), my parents were unsuspicious and merely concerned with getting it out to the trash.

Which is where it went and where this story ends.

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