Part 40: The Metro Chronicles Vol IV

"Memories of nearly 50 years in the Biz"

Part 40: The Metro Chronicles Vol IV

Postby Brian Lord » Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:02 am

Brian Lord’s Radio Stories # 40


By Edward Caswell

Editor’s note: There has been considerable discussion between the publishers as to whether or not the following incident should be included in this series. For one thing, at the time, the reaction of some of those involved could best be described as ‘incendiary’. Secondly, the escapade, when it happened, was not seen as being the least bit humorous. But time, they say, is a great healer and any objections have been over-ruled by the majority who has decided that enough water has passed under the bridge.

Ed Caswell had some acid. LSD. It had been given to him, in Canada, by a friend--a confirmed recreational drug user--who, however, didn't like acid ("It's not my thing") and passed it on to Ed. It was in the form of liquid and came in a small, air-tight, water-proof pill container and looked like nothing so much as pale blue ink. About a thimble-full.

The acid was, as the expression goes, clean. It was both potent and well prepared by a competent chemist. Ed knew this because a few months before he left Canada to begin a new job as a newscaster at Hong Kong's Metro Broadcasting Corporation, he had done some with his friend Neal. A drop or two in a tumbler of water served to get Ed and Neal wasted for the better part of a day. Actually, it was Neal who really tripped out. Usually an introverted, quiet individual, Neal began squirming and scratching himself when he got stoned, his eyes growing as large as saucers while he launched into a feverish discourse about his need for psychiatric help. He told Ed he was both an alcoholic and a drug addict and babbled on and on about all the "12-step" meetings he was attending and all the weird people he was forced to deal with as a result. He spent more than two hours talking about the problems he was having with his girlfriend who had apparently become fixated with roller-skates and spent her time zipping around the neighborhood at warp speed before coming home exhausted, uninterested in sex and smelling of sweat.

Then there was the issue of Tim. Ed had, years before, hired Tim as a reporter. Although separated by a generation gap, they had a lot in common--both enjoyed nothing better than to smoke dope and listen to music. And they had once attended a “Who” concert in Seattle together, both wired on LSD. Shortly after arriving in Hong Kong, Ed learned that Tim was serving a sentence in Thailand's Chatachuck Correctional Institute after being busted, "Midnight Express" style while boarding a flight at Bangkok's Don Muang airport with an ounce of smack taped to his crotch. Each month, Ed sent Tim a bit of money, a few books, and once, remembering the Who concert, he had soaked a bit of newspaper with a dab of his acid and enclosed it with a letter. Tim had written back that the stuff was the best he'd had in years and one day soon, when he was released, he would come to Hong Kong and pay Ed back for his kindness. But Tim was a junkie and Ed never heard from him again.


One bright, sunny Saturday morning, Ed got out of bed at around nine o'clock, looked outside and decided he was going to drop acid. It was that kind of day. Ed was living on Lamma Island, an hour long commute, mostly over water, to and from Metro's offices in Kowloon. He loved Lamma, which offered a kind of part Chinese, part Bohemian life-style, and was populated with a few hundred drug-addled Brits plus a few other Westerners. It was a vast improvement over Ed's former digs in the Territory, a tiny room in the ninth-floor flat of a doleful old battle-ax named Hang, who owned two big dogs one of which was in the habit of crapping on the floor during the night leaving the mess for Ed to confront when he arose in time to get to work, early the next morning.) The condition of the LSD in Ed's pill bottle had undergone a change over the years: where once it had sloshed around like water, it had, by this time, turned a deeper blue and congealed somewhat taking on a viscosity similar to that of Mushroom soup. Using a bit of newsprint Ed absorbed a couple of drops and swallowed it, then began to clean his carpets.

The first indication that something was amiss occurred about ten minutes later when Ed felt the onset of what he called the "whips and jangles", a sensation which felt a bit like a mild electric current jerking through the body. This was unnatural. In all his history of dropping LSD, Ed had never felt the "whips and jangles" take hold in anything less than a half hour. He stopped cleaning his carpet and looked into the mirror and said to his image,"Uh-oh". He was forced to face the realization that he might have over-indulged. Fifteen minutes later the thought was confirmed. Instead of the minor electrical sensation, Ed felt like he was shot through with bolts of lightening.

He became frightened--nervous and paranoid--about what was to come. He knew he was going to need help, so while he could still function he placed a telephone call to his Metro News colleague and friend, Rupert Winchester. Rupert knew all about every drug, recreational and pharmaceutical, known to mankind. Not only had he read about them, in many cases he had consumed them. He had connections with shady members of Hong Kong's Triad Organization who would meet him at any place, any time and pass him an innocuous brown paper bag containing whatever mood-changing intoxicant had been specified. Rupert was one of those individuals who had the uncanny ability to consume prodigious amounts of drugs or booze and outwardly seem as if he was not only dead straight, but dead bored. So Ed was confident that Rupert would know exactly what to do. And the best part: Rupert lived close-by on Lamma Island.

Phone rings in the Winchester residence;

Susan: "Hi, this is Susan, who's this?" (Susan is Rupert's fiancé, a good-looking, sharp as a pin, 20-Something from West Virginia)

Ed: "It's Ed, Susan. Could... could I speak to Rupert please?"

Susan: "He's not here, Ed. He's in Hong Kong. There's a big party tonight and he's helping to arrange everything. You sound like shit, what's the matter?"

Ed: "Oh, goodness. Rupert's not home?"

Susan: "No Ed. What's the matter with you?"

Ed: "Susan, I... listen Susan... I... could you come over to my place for a while? Please?"

Susan: "No Ed, I can't. I have lots to do and I've got to leave soon to join Rupert. WHAT IS WRONG?"

Ed: "I'm stoned"

Susan: "Well that's nothing new"

Ed: "No it's not the same, Susan. I'm stoned on acid and I'm frightened that I took too much and I need somebody with me"

Susan: "Jesus Christ, Ed. Jesus Christ. Look, I don't know the first thing about acid. I'm not your gal. I'd be useless"

Ed: "Susan, please, just to give me some confidence... Pleeese" (whimpers)

Susan: (pause) "......... oh... okay... I'll be over"

Ed: "Thank you Susan... I really... “(phone hangs up in his ear).

It wasn't long before Susan arrived at Ed's door. She was carrying two large cartons of orange juice and stared at him as if she expected to see a living example of Oscar Wilde's "Picture of Dorian Gray". Then Ed noticed that Susan was not alone. With her, also carrying orange juice was....... a Gremmie.

Southern California's golden sand beaches are a Mecca for young people. Especially, during Spring break and the summer months, Malibu, Redondo, La Jolla to name but a few, are packed solid with kids. The girls, all healthy, bikini-clad clones of each other spend hours sun-bathing and talking about movies, boys, and the latest "Nails 'n Lashes" boutique to open in their neighborhood. The boys, however, are divided into two distinct classes: Surfers and Gremmies. The Surfers, who actually surf, are there to impress the girls, wear their hair in a buzz-cut, have big muscles, drink Mega-Vite Power Tonic and call everybody "dude". The Gremmies, who never get wet, are there to look at the girls, wear their hair long, have no muscles, drink gallons of Budweiser beer and call everybody "man".

Susan: "Edward, this is... (Ed missed the name, all he could think was "Gremmie")... Edward, are you listening? He’s had experience and he's going to help."

The Gremmie: "We brought some orange juice, man. Orange juice is good. Orange juice works, how ya dooin'..?"

Ed: "Not too good... I dropped too much LSD."

Susan: (plunks down a glass from the kitchen) "Edward, drink some orange juice"

The Gremmie: "Yeah, well, hey... me and this friend did some reeeeely righteous 'cid this one time and we were waaaay fucked, man... down on the floor... there was snakes and worms, man... for daaaaays we were waaaay fucked... we.."

Ed: (interrupts) "uh... maybe some other time... Is this gonna last long... the trip...?"

Susan: "Edward, drink your orange juice" (Ed drinks some, it isn't easy)

The Gremmie: "... how long... aw well, man... it depends... one time me and this other guy, we did this 'preeemo blotter, man... fuuuck... we were waaaay fuuucked, man....” etcetera etcetera.....

After about 15 minutes of this Ed began to think that he'd be better off on his own. He convinced himself he felt better and announced that things were just fine. Susan and the Gremmie could go and "thanks for coming... thanks a lot". So they left.

20 minutes later Ed phoned Susan.

Susan" "Hi, it's Susan, who's this"

Ed: "..................Susan.............."

Susan: "Oh for God's sake, what is it now, Ed"

Ed: "... I'm scared, Susan could you please come over... "…He and began to plead.

Susan: (after an exasperated pause) “All right Ed. I'm comin' over."

Ed: "thank you...”

Susan: "Ed...”

Ed "yeah"

Susan: "This Sucks"

Susan spent the entire afternoon at Ed's place. Almost the whole time she was there she was on the telephone making arrangements to have people do the things she was supposed to have done for that night's party. She made Ed drink all his orange juice. She was sternly polite but underneath, one could tell, she was furious. Ed did nothing all afternoon but sit and stare at the wall except once he spoke on the telephone to another Metro colleague, Kristina Millman, who had been talking to Susan. He apologized, to which Kristina answered... "You don't have to apologize to ME, Ed"... the implication didn't go un-noticed. In the late afternoon Susan was able to contact Ed's colleague at Metro, an old friend from Canada, Chris Lincoln, and convinced him to come to Lamma as soon as possible and baby-sit Ed... which Chris did during the evening... and stayed all night. Ed "came down" around 5 o'clock the next morning.


Ed Caswell knew that it was going to take both Rupert and Susan awhile to get over this incident. And it did. He knew it would be awhile before he again saw Susan socially and that their once friendly relationship would suffer a degree of meltdown. And it did. He knew that any attempt to soften Susan's anger by presenting her with chocolates and flowers would be useless. He tried, and it was. (Rupert delivered them). But because Rupert Winchester was as much into intoxicants as anyone he had ever known, Ed felt that he may get off without too much mental bloodshed. He was wrong. On the following Monday, Rupert refused to even acknowledge Ed's presence in the Metro control room and as Kristina Millman put it--after Ed had tearfully asked her why Rupert was being such a sadist: "He's playing hardball Ed.. you'll just have to wait him out" Which he did.

And, within a few days Rupert's attitude towards Ed returned to normal and the incident was never mentioned again. But that first Monday morning had been brutal when the two met at the Ferry Terminal.

Ed: "Rupert, I'm really sorry but you know it wasn't intentional."

Rupert: "No. But it was irresponsible. You have no idea the extent of the problems you caused. Susan had responsibilities and you managed to selfishly monopolize her time. You kept her from doing things. People were depending on her but she had to stay on Lamma and play nursemaid to you."

Ed: "Well, I'm sorr..."

Rupert: "Shut up. Had I been there I would have marched you down to the clinic and filled you with" (mentions some drug that defeats the ill effect of acid) "but because I was otherwise engaged it was left to Susan who has no experience in dealing with matters of this sort. She was forced to address an unknown situation and it was only natural that things unfolded in the manner in which they did and with the expected and unavoidable results. I repeat--you will never know the degree of commotion you caused by your stupidity and how many people were affected due to your being a fatuous turd. You will never mention this incident again until such time as I tell you that you can mention it. Is that understood?"

Ed: "Yeah"

Rupert: "And one more thing"

Ed "What's that?"

Rupert: "Tomorrow morning when you come to work, bring me the rest of the acid."
Brian Lord
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Re: Part 40: The Metro Chronicles Vol IV

Postby jon » Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:05 pm

Brian Lord wrote:bring me the rest of the acid.

The best Writing course I ever took stated that the difference between great and excellent writing is the presence of a kicker like that one. O'Henry (the short story writer with the twist endings, not the chocolate bar maker) would be proud.
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Re: Part 40: The Metro Chronicles Vol IV

Postby CubbyCam » Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:17 pm

I've always considered Brian an excellent writer... and have long encouraged him to publish. Don't know if anyone remembers a short lived feature he wrote and produced for "Today in Vancouver" on KISS-FM, called "Lord of the Skies" in which he explored one of his many passions, astronomy. It was amazingly entertaining and informative. Wish I had a copy of some of them. Another great piece Mr. Lord! :worthybow:
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Re: Part 40: The Metro Chronicles Vol IV

Postby hagopian » Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:02 pm

"Stay away from the BLUE acid......"

Melon, my man, you have lived.

Hope Feli and Familia are well.

Hilarious. Thanks.
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