af Cherokee • illustrationer/fotos Cherokee Illegal 13


As the city readied itself for the approaching blizzard, i follow all of the other uncertain miscreants into the womb warmth of the subway system. The commanding voices of the radio & television anchors advise all citizens to stay indoors. Outside, flurries of snow are rapidly increasing. Traffic slows & stores close their gates. The subway has gradually started to shut down, beginning with the outdoor & above ground lines. An announcement on the MTA website states a citywide closure by 4 p.m. No unnecessary travel permitted. With rapturous excitement i pack my bag; i already have a spot in mind.
For the past week i have been repeatedly taking a narcotic called 2CE. i still don’t quite know what it is, nor what the consequential effect will be upon my long term wellbeing, but goodness-gracious it is an incredible drug that i can best describe as an acid-coke combination. Just fabulous. 2 quick bumps & out the door.

Due to the storm all trains are running local, making the journey to the end of the line somewhat time-consuming. However, due to my mental state time itself is irrelevant, combining alternating moments of psychedelic visualizations & crystal clarity. i try to take note of the other people seated around me in the carriage headed away from Manhattan. My paranoid mind surmises all strangers are undercover police, & i can tell my behavior is jumpy & sporadic. Alas, all is chill & i reach my destination unmolested.

After catching several subways back & forth past a particular layup that is parked in a spot where it don’t normally park, getting off at alternate stations in an attempt to maintain a level of anonymity, i eventually arrive at the platform from whence i shall enter. The sleeping silver snake lay dormant in the tunnel ahead of me, occasionally stirring with a whispered hiss or generator gurgle. As i complete my final psychological assessments of the situation (this moment of commitment is of utmost importance), a shabbily dressed man walks to the end of the platform, through the small gate guarding the trackside entry, & into the tunnel. Alert, i strain my eyes in the direction of his departure but see nothing. The silence is broken by the sound of voices from within the dark abyss, mutating the mood from one of tranquility to volatile caution. Another sound, one of running water, dispels my fears of the man. He appears a moment later, zipping his fly. The voices & other eerie sounds of uncertainty continue. i stand unmoving, attempting to discern whether or not the noises are real or imagined, perhaps an effect of the 2CE. The distinct rhythm of footsteps in combination with high-pitched yelling & squealing engulf the station. As the sounds near the platform the definable reverberations of laughter become clearly discernible. Three boys emerge covered in dust & sniggering, visibly out of breath from their subway adventure.
“The only way through them tunnels!” thus spoke one of the boys whilst i stood & stared with eyes of indecision.
This momentary explosion of energetic adrenalin therefore influenced my reasoning, with the boys’ arrival signaling that all was as it should be. One train did pass & i followed, trackside tiptoeing to a certain particular place of good lighting & photographic possibility. As i waited for another train to pass in the opposite direction before beginning my masterpiece, i suddenly realized i had accidently brought with me a certain mouse pillow i had purchased the evening before from a confident junkie on the corner of 1st & 1st. We had been doing fill-ins on a road barrier & it was my turn to look out. Coincidentally, at this very moment a group of youths arrived pushing a large speaker on wheels down the middle of 1st street, followed a moment later by a police car. The youths chorused, “fuck the NYPD!”
I spontaneously became involved in a conversation with a passing stranger, the aforementioned confident junkie. As my associates finished their fills, i bought a small bag of supposed cocaine. One bump & i gathered it indubitably was not cocaine, although it was certainly something, offering a speedy, amphetaminesque feeling of upbeat energetic advance. i liked the guys face, & because of this i no doubt got conned. It was the remnants of this bag that i found in my pocket in this moment of apprehensive serenity. Of course, i did as any other being in my situation would do; i finished the bag with four substantial snorts before the next train passed. The tracks clicked & the lights from the train momentarily illuminated my arcane position. Feeling good, i began my work.
Time moves in a peaceful manner & all is as it should be. 5 minutes pass in serene tranquility. In the final stars, the aroma of burning weed begins to engulf the spot. This does not seem exceedingly unexpected to me at this particular point in time, simply another NewYorkism in line with the previous appearance of the teenagers. The third rail scream signals the necessary moment of departure. The train does pass, a hurried photograph & i follow. As i approach the platform i turn a blind corner to be met faceto- face with a girl being fucked from behind. With nervous apprehension i step backward, before regaining my composure.
“Whoo’r yoo?” the uneasy voice of the hood standing behind her questioned. “Move . . . MOVE!”, i commanded. My voice took on a tone i myself did not recognize. They stepped aside as i barged forward. Standing at the end of the platform was their lookout, the source of the smell of burning dope. The blunt hanging from the side of his mouth, with wide-eyed nervousness he quickly turned around as i marched toward him. My energy was one of a manic psychotic. The instant i saw people, before realizing they were youths of a nonthreatening non-police nature, i turned into a madman. Up the stairs & onto the street where the moment of apprehension resides temporarily, the nervous aggression is replaced by fear & uncertainty. An empty pilgrim, i quickly walk toward an alternate station. The snow has increased tenfold. The streets are deserted, containing neither cars nor people. i walk in the center of the road, stumbling several times. i throw my bag into a snow-covered rubbish bin outside a nondescript house. There erupts a banging on the window above the rubbish bin. The window opens & a gray-haired woman unleashes a barrage of insults in Spanish. i conclude she does not want my rubbish in her rubbish bin. i remove the bag & in doing so the bag rips & the cans fall onto the ground. The woman continues to insult me as i collect my burdensome items of creativity, consequently getting paint all over my jacket. i quickly find another bin, dispose of my worry & scuttle once more into the subterranean labyrinth. Slightly disgusted & overwhelmingly empowered with a feeling of achievement, the effects of the drugs seem to commence another wave. The journey back to the city passes without incident.

i listen to two conductors speak to one another about the approaching storm.
“The sanitation workers be ballin’ today! Ooee! They be makin that hand o’er foot!”
Outside & back on the street & the city continues to close. The thoroughfares of Manhattan are desolate aside from a hodgepodge of flashing light police cars & sanitation trucks. The people who are out of doors are playing & smiling & appear to be genuinely happy & joyful, content in this moment of metropolis tranquility. i, on the other hand, need a drink & some cocaine.
An hour later my desires are fulfilled, i sit in the snow & open a bottle of champagne. Comfortable in this instant of silence, i have a bump from the small vial most recently acquired. Following this snowstorm cocaine champagne breakfast, i spend the next week downtown wandering doing graffiti & getting higher & higher. Painting subways, fried, the fabulous life.

Alexander Shulgin, Rest In Peace.