Mark liked to smoke crack – only casually though. He claimed his smoking days were pretty much over now and he seemed like a nice enough guy. As we chilled on the rooftop of an Indian restaurant passing round hash, we listened to his fond memories of a youth spent in a London gang, and his sole life philosophy: “It’s all about the pusseh, man!”
Obviously, the best thing that anyone could possibly do is to take advice from a recovering crackhead who is motorcycling across India in the midst of a mid-life crisis. Mark was doing it for the ‘craic’ (he was Irish), but when you can’t go near crack for rehabilitation reasons, the only real option left is to consume copious amounts of Nepalese hash cakes before setting out on a motorcycle ride. We decided to accompany this drunken Irishman, who led us along the world’s most accident prone roads.
Everything was going surprisingly well until the hash kicked in. Then nothing could go wrong. I was Evil Knievel – if Evil Knievel was up to his eyeballs on drugs, that is, and riding a bike for the first time. And when you’re riding unlicensed and under the influence, something is inevitably going to go tits up.
Everything was going surprisingly well until the hash kicked in.
I handed over driving duties to my mate who’d been clinging for life on the back, round about the time the drugs started to really kick in. And I mean really kick in. There’s a real sense of paranoia and powerlessness that hits a man at this point in his life, as he hurtles down a potholed road in rural India.
The road narrowed as a tractor emerged. Now, at this point any motorbike rider should slow down. But an over confident drug fiend will always adopt plan B first and so my mate revved the bike and gunned it off road with a wild yell. For a second I’d hoped we’d made it, but then I was sprawled across the dirt, my helmet clattering down the road (safety first in any situation) and an Indian boy was laughing at my pain.
Mark rode back to find us bleeding on the roadside. Perhaps if we’d taken more hash it wouldn’t have hurt so much. Mark was trying hard to contain his laughter as we told him how events had unfolded. “You boys are young! You’ll learn soon enough!”. With that vague, unquestionable advice we set off down the road again.
Hunter S. Burroughs
Photo courtesy of Zach Welty