ARVIND DILAWAR

Writer, Editor, Somewhat Useless

I Smoked DMT

My first experience with DMT did not actually involve me smoking it. I was in Japan with three of my friends, and we passed a legal drug stand peddling it. We asked the legal drug dealer about its quality (earlier during the same trip we had bought something called “super joint,” which made everyone pass out and have terrible nightmares). He said that if we didn’t believe him about the quality, we should take a hit right there on the sidewalk and, if we were still standing afterwards, it would be free. Sold.

We got back to our hotel room and divided the hit into two bowls. DMT burns up too quickly if exposed to a direct flame, so you need to vaporize it. In this way, it’s similar to crack, insofar that you’re supposed to use a crack pipe to smoke it. But we didn’t have a crack pipe, so we just used normal bowls. My other friend and I were the trip-sitters.

Both the smokers laid back on separate beds and sparked up at the same time. My fellow trip-sitter cracked a joke, which made one of the smokers laugh, automatically wasting his hit. The other smoker held it in for as long as he could, and it seemed to work.

After a minute or two, he got to his feet, saying something about melting wallpaper. He slammed into the dresser and started heading for the window. My friend and I had to tackle him to the floor and hold him down for five minutes before he relaxed. When we told him what he had done, all he said was, “You have no idea what I saw.”

Fast forward three years, and one of my friends, a chemistry major, managed to extract / synthesize / whatever a batch of DMT with a bunch of ingredients he had ordered online and equipment he had “borrowed” from his college’s labs. He loaded a dash of the yellowish-brown crystalline powder into a glass pipe. Once again, we didn’t have a crack pipe, but my friend had managed to whip something together out of some of that borrowed equipment. I’ve since tried to find a substitute, using light bulbs and even a marijuana vaporizer, but nothing works quite as well as that MacGyver’d shit he made.

I sat up and inhaled hard through the pipe as my friend heated it. The smoke was light grey and had a taste I can only describe as “chemical,” sort of like the smell of plastic burning. I made sure to hold it in as long as I could before exhaling. Luckily, there were no jokes.

“Take one more,” my friend said, and I did. After my third hit, I felt the effects coming on.

“Take one more,” my friend was saying over and over again, like a parrot on meth. His voice began to echo, as if ten clones of him were all nagging me. I couldn’t move much, but I managed to look around the room. My vision was like a photograph taken with a camera on a really low shutter speed and really high exposure. The colors became brighter and spilled out of objects’ borders. The physical world looked fluid, like the surface of a lake. Images overlapped and bled together.

I once read an account that said smoking DMT is like “being shot out of a cannon and traveling through the entire universe; then having the entire universe shot out of a cannon and into your head.” In my experience, a DMT trip is like compressing an eight-hour acid trip into fifteen minutes. The come-up is so rapid that reality literally deteriorates before your eyes within a matter of seconds. The entire trip has a sort of extreme velocity so that, at its peak, you are just fucking gone. It’s like a roller coaster charging up an incline, but when you hit the apex you go flying off the track, sailing through the air. When I peaked, I was no longer in my friend’s bedroom. I wasn’t with him, my other friend or my girlfriend at the time anymore. I was swimming through an ocean of neon-colored, fractal patterns. I was hearing beautiful music comprised of different ringing frequencies, each which inexplicably corresponded to one of the colors I was seeing. It’s hard to describe.

It didn’t last long. Eventually, the sounds quieted and the colors receded into the background. Upon returning to reality, I immediately had two thoughts:

1. “What the fuck was that?”
2. “Did I just shit my pants?”

The world was still fluid and its coloring was off, but second by second everything was falling back into place. Objects returned to their original shapes. I felt wet all over, like I had been dunked into a tub of cold water. Everyone was silent and expectantly staring. I couldn’t move, but felt like I had to say something.

“I feel like God just punched me in the face.” I complained to my girlfriend that I was soaked in sweat, but, after touching me, she said that I was totally dry. I eventually got to my feet and staggered to the bathroom, where I checked my pants and, thankfully, found them shit-free.

Originally posted on Street Carnage. An alternate version of this story was published in Encounters Magazine and on Narratively.

1 Comment

  1. Thank you. I really enjoyed your recount of the experience you had. Sounds much like mine (except for the feeling of shitting your pants) but I was never able to find the right words to describe it.

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