Thursday, March 18, 2010

Orange Sunshine

the good doctor

In 1971 Stanley Kubrick released a movie called “A Clockwork Orange”. It was an extremely bizarre movie for the time period. It received an Academy Award nomination for best picture, but was edged out by “The French Connection.” If there was an award given for most "trippy picture of 1971, it would have won in a landslide.

With “Trippy” being the operative word, you can imagine how many joints were smoked and how many hits of acid were ingested, by movie goers prior to entering the movie theater.  In addition, “A Clockwork Orange” was the first movie released with the new “Dolby” sound system. 

Very shortly after it was released, a small group of us went to see it.  On that night, our drug of choice was a particularly potent and speedy type of LSD, known as “Orange Sunshine.”

There were four of us driving from Long Beach to Hollywood to see the movie. Before we left home, one guy took a full hit (dose), two of us took a half hit, and “Skip,” our driver for the evening, didn’t partake. He was more worried about his car, than having fun.

Skip’s car was a 64 or 65, Comet Cyclone, made by Mercury. At that time it was Comet’s entry into the “muscle car” wars. By the time he was done with it, Skip was very successful at the local drag strips in sanctioned races. But he always made sure it was street legal, because he liked to street race as well. The ride to Hollywood was safe and uneventful. We found a parking place, walked to the theater, and stood in line. The two of us who took an initial half hit of the LSD, took the rest of it while we were waiting in line (and still coherent enough to remember that we even had it). Even Skip, much to our surprise, asked for a half hit. We happily obliged him. We had to wait in line for quite a while.

I wish I could remember the name of the guy who had taken the whole hit of acid earlier, because he started getting squirrely about a half hour into our wait. It's one thing to be straight (sober) while talking to a person on LSD, but it’s a whole different ball game, when you are in the same boat. When you’re straight, you just think the person is a babbling idiot. But when you are tripping yourself, it’s just freaking crazy and adds to your own experience (not usually in a good way). So, we’re standing on Hollywood Boulevard, watching the cars drive by and looking at the people, when "Mr. Squirrely" starts to lose it in a big way.

LSD “rule of thumb” number one; “If you still have enough power of thought remaining, to know that you are "too high" on a hallucinogenic, then you are not.” I’m not sure how far along our friend "Rocky" was on his journey to "orange sunshine" insanity, but I’m pretty sure he was hoping to find his buddy "Bullwinkle" there. We were trying to keep the guy quiet, but he wasn't having it. He was incoherent!  At that point, I'm sure he didn’t even know what planet he was on.

At this point, we're all in our own little LSD world, looking at each other, wondering what the hell we were going to do with our friend. Before we could decide, the decision was made for us.

There was a loud crashing noise behind us; I turned around just in time to see our friend kick out a plate glass window, his second. He started screaming and running down "Hollyweird" Boulevard.

We were more than happy to run after our friend, because the second window he kicked out set off an alarm. It was just a matter of time before the police would arrive. He ran in the general direction of our car, so it wasn’t too surprising to find him hiding behind a dumpster in that area. We got him into the car and made a bee line to the nearest freeway on ramp. We’re all very high and because of the excitement, very “amped up." Even Skip seemed to be speaking in tongues, and he was driving!

We were much too "wired" up and needed to unwind. Somebody lit a joint and it seemed to work. I remember losing my anxiety, but still felt totally ripped from the orange sunshine. But that’s okay, I’d done it many times before.  I sat back, listened to the music, and watched the lights flash by in the night. Skip seemed to be driving fairly well. A bit fast, but that was his nature. I was sitting in the passenger seat, looking out the windshield, and actually starting to enjoy the ride.  That's when the wreck took place.

I’m not sure exactly how far it was in front of us, well over a hundred yards at least. A car made a change from the fast lane, into the one next to him. But he didn’t see the car beside him, driving in his blind spot (just a guess). The traffic was fairly heavy, but moving very fast. It was a big chain reaction wreck. There were several cars involved and they were smashing into each other, and spinning around like you see on a race track. I’m expecting Skip to slam on the brakes, but he’s not doing so. I’m pushing down on the floor with all I’ve got, but that isn’t working either. Instead of braking, our illustrious driver, stoned on LSD for his first time,  floors it...

For some reason, even as we were being slammed back into our seats by the acceleration, everything switched to total slow motion.  I’ve already told you this car is scary fast.  It's made for the drag strip. Jacked up, racing tires on the back, tube front axle, the works! I glanced at Skip, I can tell by the look on his face that he’s somewhere else. He's at the freaking Indy 500 or something.

I heard myself screaming at him to stop, but he’s not listening to me. I can still hear my voice in that slooooow motion special effect. When we get to the wreck, some of the cars are still spinning. He drives right through the center of the carnage.  We are never going to make it. We're all screaming at the same time. All of us, but Skip that is, He’s too busy driving. He’s in his element, he’s in frigging Skip heaven.

I have no idea why, or how, but we made it through. I looked over at Skip, only to find the crazy bastard smiling from ear to ear. Somebody from the back seat was still yelling at him to slow down. I looked at the speedometer, it was pinned at 120 mph, so I have no idea how fast we were actually going. I had to grab his arm to get his attention. He finally let up on the gas.

All’s well, that ends well, I guess. But we never let that crazy son-of-a-bitch drive again.  Being high on LSD and driving is one thing, being flat out crazy and doing so, is quite another...


  1. well, good thing he wasn't high on LSD or I may not be reading these awesome stories.I have seen clockwork orange it is indeed a "trippy" movie.

    That and The Wall where all the rage when I was growing up on movies to see when you are way to high. rather it be on "tabs" or just stoned.

    It's crazy the thing's we do when we are young, I often wonder how I'm still alive to be honest.

  2. OMW (Oh my word!)! I will never let my son read this!!! Glad you guys were ok - and I hope the trippin is over. You really do have a lot of stories. Hey, are you sure this really happened or were you actually in the movie? LOL!

  3. Ah, the good old days...

    I enjoyed taking this ride with you -- it was very well written. Your sense of humor is perfect!

    Brought back memories of my own...

    Thanks for visiting my blog today!

  4. I loved "Clockwork Orange", and there has never been another character like Alex! O.K. so I don't remember the original version, but I have it on tape and have the book.
    I've never taken hard drugs before, only smoked a bit weed, but I can imagine what it must have been like!
    Yes, we do some crazy things when we are just kids, and we are lucky to still be here most of the time!

  5. Ahhh, the days of misspent youth. I knew a few who didn't survive it.

  6. Great story. Would make a great short movie.

  7. See, kids? Drugs are gooooooood. They help you drive like wow.

    The first time I did acid, my friend and I wound up lighting 50 tealight candles in the dark and then making shapes of wax on the hardwood floors. Damage deposit = gone.

  8. Believe it or not, I have not seen that movie yet.
    In fact, I only recently ever saw Rocky Horror (within the past 6 years, which for someone MY age in a civilized nation is pretty amazing)
    but I absolutely love your story. I know you could write a book about your life. You really should

  9. It really is amazing that many of us survive into adulthood. I love this story, and I love A Clockwork Orange.

  10. I'm so happy to have made it through that night and many more like it. These days, I only have an occasional drink. Okay, maybe more than occasional...

    For those that missed it, the 60's and 70's were incredible. Pretty soon I'll post about my time in Haight-Ashbury, during the "summer of love." I was still in high school and we hitch hiked there during summer vacation in 1967.

    thanks to all of you for reading and commenting!
    One more thing...I haven't even started lying yet! This stuff is all true

  11. Sarahjayne, that's so true, I knew some who didn't though...

  12. What a great story. You have a gift. I concider myself a storyteller but YOU, SIR, are the one I would want to listen to around the fire.

    Maybe that car had an 'overthruster' in it like in Buckaroo Banzai? He could go through mountains and in your state I am sure you were seeing things from the 'Eighth Dimension' anyways.

    Of course that reference is totally lost if you haven't seen that movie.

  13. I haven't seen the movie yet, but when I do so, I will take your implied advice and see it without the aide of drugs.

  14. "...remember, no matter where you go, there you are!"

    "Overthruster," jet engine, I don't know. But the lights were going by us so fast, I thought we'd hit warp speed...

    Thanks for the nice words!! Right back atcha!

  15. Dude, this would make a funny movie. (what Jerry said)

    Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a nice comment.

    I'll stick around too.


  16. Funny I watched this movie in 10th grade at a slumber party and it put me to sleep. I promised myself I'd watch it again. I may have to put it my Netflix list.

  17. Thanks Lola,
    As long as Johnny Depp plays me, I'm down with that...

  18. I would have killed Skip with my bare hands once he'd stopped the car! Damn, throughout the end of the story, I had my mouth open and I couldn't believe how lucky you were to be alive to tell us this today!!Woaaaaah!

  19. Ally - the funny thing about the movie, was that I didn't actually see it until about five years later...

    Sarah - We should have beaten the hell out of him at a minimum. We really didn't see him too much after that.

  20. Pat...that's that greatest LSD story I have ever read. My parallel story involves the move 2001 Space Odyssey and a motorcyle. I do not want to relive that again just yet. Suffice it to say we are both lucky to be alive and blogging in this day and age.

    Loved Clockwork and have seen it more times than I can count. Thanks for the flashback!

  21. Chuck, very lucky! Interesting that you used the word "flashback" in your last

  22. True story? I am guessing yes! The slow motion voice is what leads me to believe you.

    Thanks for dropping by. I will be returning the visits!

  23. You're bog is so cool. Just love the stories from the old days :)

  24. She writes - Yup, it's true...And I'm happy to say I survived it!

    soft nonsense - Thanks so much. One thin I have a lot of, is stories!

  25. You HAVE to turn your life into a book! You're a rock star. BTW...loved Clockwork Orange the book. Movie freaked the %$%# out of me.

  26. Hi Pat,
    I did a fair amount of acid in the early 70s, but the one thing I was always keen to avoid was interaction with other people. And you wouldn't have got me driving for anything.

    I know you're already following me, but I wonder if you've read my Drugs and Religious Experience, which talks about some of my acid trips.

  27. thanks Dennis,
    No I haven't read that particular post. I will today though. I hope you are starting to feel better!

  28. Dennis, I just read your experiences.

    I couldn't agree with you more. There is no enlightenment waiting, only insanity. I also tried taking notes while on LSD. It ended up being gibberish. I tried drawing also. Nonsense!
    Having said that, It didn't stop me from taking it many many times...

  29. Wow! I want to hang out with you guys!

    You sir have led one hell of a life! When I get a chance, I'm going to go read your posts about Vietnam.... Everybody tells me that they are amazing!

    Any chance of a Pat Tillet book getting published?

  30. We certainly had some adventures. Not all of them good though! More true stories coming!

    Be warned, there's about 45 Vietnam entries. Pretty crazy stuff. They are numbered and in chronological order. Lot's of work!

    A book? I've heard that more than a few times, but I think I'm too A.D.D. to do it. We'll see...

    The other day i noticed what city you lived in. I live just down the 5 fwy., a ways. Crown Valley is my off ramp.

    Thanks for the nice words! I really appreciate it!

  31. Hey neighbor! My mom works right down that way at the hospital! You know which one it is.... I don't want to give away too much information.... lol

  32. Holy cow! This was not at all the story I was expecting when I saw your comment on my post.

    Glad you're alive, and lived to tell the tale.

    Well written though, I think my eyes were bugging about half out of my head while I read it. ha.


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