The Danny Engles Incident

by Prescott Johanson

This is a story that I wrote about 6 years ago that I just dug out recently. I thought this may be a fitting forum for it so enjoy.

I woke up at 11:30 after partying til 3:00 a.m. the night before with Amber, Z, and Tom. They had come over to give us our hits of acid and we drank and smoked out until late. It was one of my last days in town for this trip, so I visited with my grandparents at their house for a couple of hours then headed back to pick Amber up. On my way I stopped by Antoro's house and found him and Scumley sleeping on the floor. I woke them and asked about this evening's activities. Scumley notified me that he had to work late so we couldn't all go out to his parents house to camp and lose our minds; besides, he wasn't going to trip anyway. I was pissed because we had been planning this for weeks and he never mentioned he wouldn't be involved, he had been an active participant from the beginning. I left disgusted; Scumley's just one of those guys that you can't rely on for anything. Now we had the problem of where to take our hits without causing too much of a disturbance. I picked Amber up and we headed over to Erin's house. Erin is about 4 years older then me and was best friends with my sister for years. So basically, he has become family to me and a good friend; I always stop over to see him and smoke out when I'm home. We let ourselves in because the door was open and followed the talking upstairs to find him and Darren had just lit up a blunt. They joked about our good timing and passed it around til we had finished it, laughing and bullshitting the whole time. It was some dank green stuff that Darren had gotten in Columbus, and I was ripped, red eyed and giggly. We said our goodbyes and headed back to my mom's house to eat dinner with my family. My sister was there with her two kids, as well as two of my mom's friends. We had to put Visine in our eyes and clean up so that our current state wasn't too noticeable. I ate quickly because I still had to drive out to my aunt's new house for a house warming party and to see my dad. My parents are divorced and my dad has helped me somewhat with my college expenses. I had talked to him for about an hour the other night pleading and prodding for help for one more semester, despite the fact I had a full year to go. My dad is very tight with his money and had told me a while ago that four years was all he would pay for. Unfortunately, I had transferred down to Florida State University and was double majoring in Finance and Real Estate, so again I had a full year left. The conversation ended with him saying to come out to my aunt's house, and he would probably give me a check out there. I stayed at the party for a little while and of course he didn't give me a check, saying he would tomorrow. I headed for home and had to put it out of my head because I didn't want it to ruin my trip later. It was Friday the 13th and would probably be a pretty wild night with a head full of acid. I arrived home and walked upstairs to find Tom, Z, and Amber chatting. The guys had already eaten a half, so they ate the other half and Amber and I took ours. Tom was making phone calls trying to find a place to go while I rolled my last joint. Z finally got ahold of Nate Engles and found out he was having a party later tonight. He had just graduated and lived with his brother and parents out in a country house. His dad Dan had been my coach on different levels for years and also worked at the same factory as my dad. Suffice to say me and Dan knew each other pretty well, but he wasn't supposed to be there and when the parents did get home they would probably go straight to bed. It sounded like a good plan to us, at the time, so we started getting prepared. We filled up my backpack with all the various glowing and lightup toys me and Amber had collected over the last year or so. You see, we hadn't tripped for a while and had been looking forward to this for a long time. Tom had his dad's van so we all piled in and headed out. I had completely forgotten about my dad's insolence and was ready to have a good time gazing up at the clear sky. The further we drove out into the country, the darker the sky became. Clouds were swirling and darkening as lightening peaked through and thunder rattled; an ominous sight indeed. We had a laugh about it as only four people with a head full of acid could. It looked as though we were smack in the middle of the movie 'Twister' and would be swallowed up at any time. I was watching the sky the whole way as we turned into the woods and drove a quarter mile until we came upon 2 houses and parked in front of one. We were at our destination, and it was starting to rain.

It was a nice house and Nate came out to meet us, not knowing we were fully tripping at this point, dialated and such. He had gotten a cooler full of free beer from our hookup at Ernie's Party Store and was expecting some people later, but we were the first to arrive. The rain was really coming down now, and we all spoke of running through the rain and mud freely, without a care in the world. The house had a wrap around porch, so we sat there watching the rain and drinking beer when another car pulled up with 3 girls in it. One was Tom's sister, who was also tripping, and the other 2 were the straightest girls I knew of. They only drank and didn't know any of us were tripping. I was already getting a feeling that this would be a very interesting night. Not wanting to make a fool of myself, I went to the garage to get a beer and stayed there listening to music. Slowly, everyone else joined me and we sat in a circle drinking and listening to music. Nobody really spoke much, and Jimi Hendrix's 'Purple Haze' came on the radio. I smiled openly, but nobody else seemed to notice this symbolism, so I just took another drink of my beer. I started realizing it was going to be a crazy trip and began thinking to myself that it may become known as the 'Danny Engles Affar'; how right I was. The rain had nearly killed the fire, so Z and Tom went to check it ,and I, not wanting to be around the 'normal people' any longer, decided to follow. Over the next hour it began raining harder, which nobody seemed to mind. Then it slowly subsided, leaving only darkness and a few stars spread across the sky to light the way. Soon Nate appeared with a glow-in-the-dark frisbee, not realizing how happy this made us. We made a small circle, tossing the frisbee to and fro, following the trail of light it left behind when another car pulled up. It was another merry band of tripsters, four in all, who had gotten the tabs and directions from Tom. We were having a trip party at this nice, middle class family's house, and they had no idea; well, maybe they had some notion. It was John and his girlfriend Keri, both pretty cool people, and some guy I didn't know. John's cousin, Bobby was also with them, a notoriously crazy guy with a wide ranging past of destruction and stupidity. He was wearing an orange glow-in-the-dark vest with no shirt underneath and had a flashlight, calling himself 'Tripping Bobby'. We were happy to see more tripsters, and I laughed about the outlandishness of the situation. Dan and his wife pulled up, which kind of startled me, but he joined in throwing the frisbee with us heads across the vast yard. We decided simply to outlast him, thinking he would head to bed soon. There was already some butterflies in my stomach because remember, this is a friend of my dad's and a respectful person in the community. I of course was neither and was relying on my dad for school money. I snuck into the garage to get a beer, and Danny caught me and started talking to me. I tried my best not to make direct eye contact as we chatted about sports teams and my dad's 50th birthday, which I forgot to mention was the next day. The frisbee kept getting thrown into the landscaping near the house and Danny was bitching at the thrower. There was also a thirty-five year old man who had come out with the tripsters. People commented that the parents were not happy with this. The situation seemed to be deteriorating, so I used the opportunity to sneak back around to my people. I stopped for a couple minutes to watch his mom in the kitchen who was just washing dishes. Jesus, I muttered, there people will never be the same after tonight. The frisbee throwing went on for about another half hour, and I slowly made my way back over to the fire where I found Z and Tom and 4-5 different people. We were there for a while drinking beer and watching the fire when Amber and Tom's sister came up with my backpack full of our various 'trip toys'.

I inquired as to what the hell they were doing, quietly of course. Apparently, Kimberly had talked Amber into grabbing them because Nate's parents had gone to bed. I didn't stop them like I should have and before I knew it, they were scattered everywhere. I'm talking a lot of stuff, everybody had something, even the non-trippers. All the glow sticks were connected together to make a large glowing whip that Tom was flailing around. I had lost all my anxiety at this point and was just losing it with everyone else. There were also various glowing balls and light up toys you could twirl around your finger; everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. I got the whip from Tom and was whipping it around trees, rolling around in a spectacular light show. Everyone was watching in awe as the whip broke apart around one of the trees and 10 to 15 light sticks exploded like a firecracker burst. People were laughing and picking up glow sticks when a huge spotlight shone on us from the garage. The shock nearly ended me; it was Danny Engles being the 'cool' dad, coming out to drink with his sons. I was the cat that brought all the trip toys, and therefore cemented myself to the acid and all the freaks that were here on it. Danny was awake and coming to hang out in the midst of our madness.

Everyone was stunned, even the non-trippers who were high and complacent to this debacle anyway. We all scattered to pick up the glow sticks and other toys. I myself hid a couple glow sticks in the back of my pants. The cooler was pulled out by the fire and all the straight people joined us as well. Amber and Kimberly had bolted at the first sight of him, leaving the bag and toys they had broke out for me to deal with. Nobody was talking much, and I saw Nate pick up a light-up key chain you spin on your finger to make a disc of light. He made fun of it and asked who had brought it in front of his dad, but nobody answered. Various other comments and conversation similar to this was going on and although I let it roll off me at the time, it would haunt me for the rest of the night. It felt as if every time I turned around, people could see the glow sticks and that would mark me as the leader of the band of merry maniacs. I no longer had any interest in tripping with Danny Engles as I was losing my mind, so I nonchalantly (so I thought) grabbed my bag and walked into the darkness. I really wasn't sure who saw me but imagined that Danny somehow thought I orchestrated all this, and he would tell everyone; making me an outcast in the entire town. No, I'm sure of it now, my college money was kaput with one sure phone call tomorrow. The bastard doesn't really want to give it to me anyway. Amber was just tripping along merrily going with the flow but I couldn't. Nobody else shared my concern. I was nearly yelling at Amber and was holding her still, trying to make her understand, but she just couldn't. She had no understanding of what she had just done to me, or at least what I imagined would be the consequences. We had all gone completely mad. Amber grabbed me to go over and smoke a joint by the other house with some people. I was going crazy and wanted to leave, but I was trapped, nobody was going to drive at this point. As Amber was telling me it was alright, this completely whacked out dude passed me the joint. He was hanging close with the youngest son and had a familiarity with the environment, so I just assumed he was one of the sons. I found out later he wasn't even tripping, but he kept varying the volume of and slurring his speech, acting all fucked up. Really he was, it wasn't the acid in me, but at the time I was all confused. It was as if this guy was fucking with me at my most vulnerable point, and he would haunt me for the rest of the night. At one point two of the other kids broke glow sticks and threw it all over this guy, and he was just laughing. At the time I started thinking that if I could just kill this guy I would probably be fine, but I knew I couldn't. I had enough compassion left to not want to end a life (on a side note he died in a car accident no more than 6 months later; very bizarre stuff, I shudder to think about it). I had to get away from this guy, so I walked around the property for about a half hour; I just couldn't take this madness. Why couldn't I just let go? I kept asking myself why they couldn't have left the toys in the van. Why did they have to put this burden on my already stressed mind, tainted with insanity. I looked up and again saw Nate's mom in the kitchen doing dishes, simply oblivious to what was going on in her yard. I simply had to leave. I stumbled upon John and Keri talking, and they asked me why Tom had told them to come out to this straight environment to lose their minds. I said that I didn't know and agreed with them that I too wanted to leave. John said he could drive us, so I grabbed Amber and we got everyone else to leave; Z and Tom decided to stay.

His car was completely blocked in; we were stuck by yet another Friday the 13th Tripping bad omen. The freak was by us again jabbering about how to get the car out and fit everybody in. I wished he would just shut the fuck up, I mean was he messing with us or out of his fucking mind? Tom came out and helped us get a car moved. I grabbed the bag-o-debauchery and John popped his trunk. There were 3 guns sitting there, probably pellet, but nonetheless, I wasn't putting my bag in there. What have I got myself into I muttered to myself while putting the bag back in the van. We finally got out 4 of us deep in the back seat, tires squealing as Danny Engles gazed on in astonishment. We were having some trouble backing out, and the freak dude who was now in the car with us said in his slurred voice, "there's no way you're going to back all the way out of the driveway." "Then why don't you fucking help him," I retorted as he was by the door and could get out easiest. We were well on our way but were all freaking out because a car we thought was a cop had followed us for a few miles. It turned out not to be, damn devil acid; we were just paranoid. I was happy to be in town, but the trip become more difficult - houses and lights were everywhere. There weren't many cars though luckily, as it was nearly 2 a.m. Totally different from the blackness of the country. At least we were away from the parents and straight people. We got to John's house, which was only a couple blocks from my mom's, and built a fire in his large back yard. The freak wanted to do it and proceeded to pour a whole bottle of lighter fluid onto the flames, creating a huge roaring mass. It started dying down, and much to my chagrin, he grabbed the gas can and dumped the remained onto the fire. This guy may be the death of me yet, I thought as I was stumbling away from the fire. Everyone needed cigarettes, and the freak volunteered so they gave him money and sent him on the nearly mile trek to the gas station. After he left was when I found out that he wasn't related to any of them and wasn't tripping. John noted that they barely knew him; he just parties out there sometimes with the youngest Engles. Who was this guy and why was he intent on ruining my trip? They also said that he rode out there with the 35 year old, so no-one could figure out why he jumped in with us. Apparently, he just wanted to be a burden on me as long as he could. We left shortly after that and walked to my mom's house. As we were leaving, the freak showed up with cigarettes in record time to everyone's amazement. What a weird dude.

My mom wasn't home when we got there, so we went upstairs to talk about the madness of the evening. I even recorded some thoughts on a mini-recorder so I could remember more detail. I came to the conclusion that everyone out there not on acid thought I was a freak. Amber tried to console me to no avail. It had somehow spiraled out of control and became my trip party. I would have been able to hold it together if they hadn't gotten my bag out and just left it there. Tom called out of concern for us because we left so abruptly with an acid head at the wheel. We played with our cat with the 3 glow sticks we had left. My mom came home, so I went down to talk to her. I was still tripping but managed to keep my shit together. I grabbed a beer out of the fridge to try to tie my erratic behavior to drunkenness. It's amazing that alcohol is one of the most addictive drugs out there, but all night I had been grabbing beers to try to look normal, how ironic. My mom went to bed, so I joined Amber and we finished watching "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", a drug fueled movie starring Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro based on a famous Hunter S. Thompson book. A great movie to watch sober or on drugs, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The talk constantly shifted to the night at the Engles, and it made me sad. I decided, as I had to get back to my sanity, that I could live without the money; although I needed it badly. We smoked all the roaches we could dig up to take the edge off and finally retired to bed at 7 a.m. The last thoughts that rang through my head were me questioning if I would ever be the same; then I slowly drifted off to sleep.

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