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Table of Contents

This is a short piece of writing detailing the author's first-hand experience during a psychotic break.

One

As we lay out on the front lawn on a beautiful night, I was looking up at Old Main, my dorm block. I see how it works now, it’s like clockwork. Every time a door opens, or a lock clicks, or a faucet turns on, or a card swipes, or a light switches, it all happens perfectly timed in sequence. Each little step must happen before the next, and this cannot be interfered with or things won’t work right. Thus the building is alive, I can see it chug along like a enormous machine-animal. This thought felt peacful, and reassuring.

Fortunately, I have the clock. I don’t know where it came from, but I have it. It’s a black hubcap with a couple dozen patterened clips attached to its edges, it says “Sleeping…” in pink letters. By flipping the metal parts of the clip, you can use the clock to encode binary strings. The clock is a very beautiful and sophisticated object, both as a work of art and in its functionality, but it has this seemingly magic ability to synchronize things perfectly and collect and focus energy

Two

We were up on the roof, at a peak. Everything was in it’s perfect place. I brought the clock up here, and turned it upside down. You see, the concave side of the clock collects solar energy, so when you put it on the metal, conductive roof it forms an especially powerful combination. Other people will pick up on this energy focus, and maybe be drawn to it. Cigarettes have this property as well, lending subtle social powers to those who hold them. Smoking them isn’t necessary, if you light one then put it out, the energy get stored in the tip.

Three

One night we were all passing around a blunt in the Inner Sanctum, after Will had moved in. I had been lamenting the fact that I didn’t have a bike for weeks now, how was I supposed to survive or escape or what may be? I was totally unprepared without a bike. They were trying to keep us away from the city, keep us ignorant and geographically static by depriving us of bikes. The proof! Look at the bike stands! All the fake bikes are locked up!

But then I realized that I actually do have a bike. I saw it earlier, it looked just like my bike at home. It was locked up over by the campus center.

I need to go get my bike, and I get up and leave the room. Manny says “Ben, but you don’t got a bike!”, then my good friend, also named Ben, hurries after me.

We went over to get the bike, It wasn’t there. Well, it’s somewhere around here, and I’m supposed to have it. I creep along the edge of the building through the bushes, and come to the loading dock in back. Oh, they must have taken it inside, if I press this button the doors should open and it will be there. Didn’t work…. Hmmm, these locked bikes are some topological puzzle, maybe if I pull on them and twist them around right…. didn’t work. It didn’t really matter, Ben and I were on a spirit quest. I led us through the silent, invisible paths, through the bushes and off the ledges, always creeping along the sides, in thehidden places. We must practice invisibility. What we’re seeking lies in the Canyon. We descend into the darkness of the Canyon’s forest trails. We were searching for reality.

Come with me. You see, nowadays, we’re losing it, losing our reference points. We need to confirm reality and come to our senses, we need something undeniable and confirmed and real. It’s dark, but we can still navigate. See the blue bridge, through the trees off over there? Scan across it like a barcode with your vision, keep it in your sight at all times, as a reference point. The golden rule of staying safe in this strange, dangerous place is to track 5 different points with your eyes at all times. Touch it, just to confirm reality. Ben Williams, we need to make totally sure this is real beyond a doubt. Confirm it by touching me. You see? That’s real. That show’s were here and this is happening. “Here!” I grab handful of leaves, “take these, touch them”. Those are real too. We’re doing something very important, creating an undeniable experience. Oh! I found it! See, over there? That lone tree across the way? That is the Just One. You see, it looks like a 1, and it’s just the only one, and it is Just. Scan the blue barcode, and retain the Just one as another reference point.

I walk off the path into the mud, uproot a big plant and take a wire mesh plant cage out of the ground. Ben, being a good friend, just wants to let me know that hes concerned about me.

Here, this stump is right across from the Just One. This is where we can make this! I put the wire mesh cage on the stump and the uprooted plant inside of it.

We did it, we created another one!

Four

I was with Will and my other friend John. We had smoked up at four in the morning after a night of binge drinking. We ran through the halls and up and down the stairs like lunatics. I had the Clock. I was set on getting up to the roof, my friends were welcome to join me. This would be dangerous.

I knew how to stay safe, though. Just remember, always keep track of 5 points in your vision, and note the location of doors and windows. We wanted to get to the roof, or maybe that was merely my intention. The usual route, through Alex’s room, was locked. Knowing the living nature of the building, I knew that I would have to climb like a vine to make it to the roof, but it wouldn’t be easy. I tried getting there through the phone booth, twisting myself while pushing upward into the corner by the ceiling, as if trying to drill upwards with my body. I didn’t make it all the way to the roof, but I must be pretty close. I got out of the booth and it looked like I was in the second-story lounge. If the roof looks like solid floor and walls, then I must be really careful not to step on some illusory patch of floor that leads out into thin air.

I continued this process, always heading up, always spiraling. Up the stairs, creeping up the railings, into the bathroom, spiral up into the corner by the ceiling, repeat. At some point, Will and John caught up with me. There was then a single moment etched into my mind.

Will and I stood in what appeared to be a hallway. John was holding onto my legs while Will gave me a hug. Someone yelled “Hey everyone look, Will is on the roof with a freshman holding a Clock!”

Finally, we had made it to the roof!


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