It wasn’t easy, but I was able to force myself to barf three days in a row in the three-day delivery window I was given from UPS. I think my mom may have thought something was up, but, she seemed to be distracted by something else and barely probed me with questions.
Each day, I would sit my bedroom window which faced the street as soon as 1:30 hit and wait until I saw the little white postal service truck pull up to my family’s mailbox. I would head to the mail as fast as I could without running once I saw the mailman and grab what he delivered in hopes it would have the box addressed to me from Jesse.
I was sweating when I got the little cardboard box alone with me in my room on the third day of the window, tucked underneath the wing of my jacket like it was a porn magazine I was trying to sneak into my chambers.
The return address sticker was for a Jesse Pinkman in Albuquerque, New Mexico, assuredly made up and clever enough to coax a nervous laugh out of me before I tore into the box.
I swiftly splayed the guts of the box on the desk in my room. It was just two items.
1. A small vial of cloudy liquid.
2. A handwritten note.
Dear Michael –
You have been welcomed into a society. Please know that we only approve about 1 in 100 of the applications that we receive for the States United Snorkeling Association. Do not take this honor and privilege lightly.
In this box is the one thing you need to make this happen, your Oxy-Gen. The directions are simple. Drink half the liquid on its own. Lie down and wait about 4-5 minutes. You will feel something change inside of you, but you will not be able to exactly put your finger on it. In the midst of your confusion, you will feel yourself start to rise up out of your body, but still remain yourself in your own eyes, your own touch. Given the amount included in the bottle (2 oz.), this dosage will last for approximately 150 minutes.
Make sure you do this in a place and time where people will not be expecting you to be awake as your body will remain where you left it, unconscious and unresponsive. Take it when you are going to bed or in a hotel room in another town. We had a snorkeler a couple of years ago whose parents found him out and took him to the emergency room. That is how the definition got to Urban Dictionary. Don’t be that guy. Fuck that guy.
You have enough for two snorkels. About half of the people I send to try it, don’t like it or can’t handle it and never try again. The other half can never get enough.
We’ll find out which half you fall into soon enough.
My body ran a constant sweat until bed time. I tried to do my usual routine of watching the Dodgers game with my dad, eating dinner and being a typical 16-year-old who was getting over a horrific stomach bug, but I wondered if I was wholly unconvincing. Whatever. My usual 10 p.m. bedroom retreat came soon enough.
I felt like a bungee jumper looking down at the horizon once I took the little vial of Oxy-Gen out of my nightstand and stared at it lying underneath the muggy, nervous heat of my blanket.
Fuck it. I gulped the it back like a shot of tequila.
Just like a shot of tequila, I felt it burn fire down my throat. Jesse hadn’t mentioned that would happen, but he seemed to be a true minimalist with the details so I didn’t pay it much mind, just laid back in my bed in the near dark, stared up at the ceiling.
The feeling Jesse mentioned started to slowly trickle into me like fluid from an IV. It felt like the time I took laughing gas at the dentist – everything was hazy, the touch of my body felt foreign, alien, like it was no longer mine, the few things my eyes could see in the near dark felt dream like, fuzzy around the edges. A feeling of euphoria started to take me over.
Then it really kicked in.