Monday, 24 January 2011


The coat of arms catches your sight in all its magnificent gold and glittering red. A few moments later, you catch yourself gazing achingly at sun-dried brown and mildly striped white. Despite the dazzle and the intoxicating essence, you realize that the experience may not be as wonderful as someone once told you. But Novelty is a cruel friend, and Novelty won't let you go that easily.

You try to do it like them, but you fail miserably... There is not suavity or elegance like what you saw on television, as the powerful substance enters you. You cough and you wheeze. Your vision blurs and you stumble. But do you give up?

As you soon discover, Time is a panacea and your feet rediscover the firm earth below. So you try again, and this time harder. The fumes rise mightily and overpower your feeble body. You are part of it now, as it is part of you. But you don't like it... Not just yet. No.

Somehow you manage the third, to the amusement of some of your friends. This time you feel so much more in control and you realize that it has always been about the mind, from the very beginning: you wanted to conquer that searing stem. And now that you have, you could let go but it has endeared itself to you.

The fourth drag is followed by the fifth and then fresh air floods your lungs. Your hands are numb as they hang loosely by your side, like those of a puppet. A cold breeze, an inky sky, rustling leaves, burning stem, and you are alone... The Universe comes to an end: No longer do the dogs bark; the full moon appears painted on a motionless black screen; the air is stagnant; the waves hang in suspended animation; you freeze. The rhythmic ticking of the clock breaks the silence.

You put your lips to the filter for a sixth time and the world jerks into sudden motion. The dogs hasten after one another; the moon is partially covered by the racing cirrus; a blast of icy cold wind blows away the ash; the waves crash against the rocky shore; and cold noxious fumes enter your lungs. People stare at you in awe, like the way they would stare at their favourite movie hero. But you are unaware of all this, of course.

Lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride: Seven is your ticket to the almighty heavens. Dreams become real in this world, everyone is happy and you are their king. Sorrows in this world ebb away into the infinite and anger is a forgotten pleasure. It is the hardest world to leave, but everything good must have an end. And this does too.

The ring of burning red is very close to your fingers now and you feel it feeding on your flesh. But you don't want to stop now. You want to push the high: thus comes the eighth drag, and your lap of honour. The hot fumes cloud your mouth and you gasp once again. You know that it has ended but you will never want to leave. You will want to stay here forever. But you can't do that. You cannot have more. You must let go. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven and eight... You must let go now!

And so the last puffs of smoke leave you. Forever.