The shaman must have been new to the job. A bit shaky with the hands, he spilled the mixture, wiped the surface clean with his palm, and continued kneading the muslin bag. The room could have used a little cleaning, too, but it was brightly lit, I will give him that. Fine particles of the ground root hung in the air, passing through the beams of sunlight. I could not tell what was dust and what was sacred. Looking at the guy, I was losing confidence in the profession. Shamanism seemed to have turned into an entry-level gig. Still, as long as the cook can handle his skillet, the waiter needs only working thumbs.
The guy poured the first round and handed me the shell. The drink was colored coffee-and-cream and tasted like mud gone rancid. Through the years of putting into my body substances still mysterious to the western world, I’ve learned the worse it tastes, the better the ride. And darling, that first sip was oxygen masks falling from the ceiling. One more made me want to rush the cockpit. Where the hell did he find this stuff? How much trial and error, how many accidental poisonings, how much cutting, dicing, boiling, burning, chewing, snorting, how many goddamn plants, shrubs, and trees uprooted until they stumbled across this… thing, this recipe out in plain sight, this splatter of paint that suddenly, one average day during one average life, became a Pollock? Yeah, this stuff was good. I was deep in daydream in front of his fridge when he noticed me, “You like my daughter’s finger paintings?”
Yeah, I guess I do.