Wednesday, January 26, 2005

By Popular Request

The Butane Story

Once again, this is a story from my Army days. It’s true as far as I know, but I can’t attest to it personally since I was (thank god) not directly involved.

In Germany, I used to pal around with two guys who we’ll call Sniggle and Snargle. Both had excellent taste in music (death metal) and alcohol (whatever was in reach), so we got along famously. At some point S&S decided Mercyful Fate and Windex (it’s an actual drink) weren’t taking them far enough, so they began huffing butane. I never saw them do it, but word got out and many of us noticed the two of them were growing progressively stupider over the months.

During slow periods, Sniggle liked to regale me with tales of the visions he saw under the influence. He said the butane made him feel euphoric and it blurred his senses like a proper drug up to a point. When the butane/blood ratio reached critical mass, the world snapped back to clarity, but with the addition of some very intense and clear hallucinations. Sometimes, when he sat still and concentrated, he could see bars of color falling from his forehead to the ground.

Once, he saw a demon standing next to him, selecting names from a list and dropping them into a well. That may have been partially my fault. I had slipped some evil subliminal images into a program he had been writing.

Another time he had been standing in the center of the room when steel cables shot from each electrical outlet. One pierced his leg and prevented him from moving. A small robot began traversing each cable, traveling from the outlet to a central hub where the cables met, then on to the next outlet. Sniggle told me he knew that, when the robot made it around to his cable, its touch would kill him. Fortunately, the waking dream ended before that happened.

Then one day, after being paid, Sniggle and Snargle went to the PX to load up for the weekend. They pooled their money, bought a large paper grocery bag full of butane cans, and returned to their room. The doltish duo were reaching butane bliss when they heard a knock on the door. They opened it and found a weasel of a squad leader and the company’s first sergeant. (They later discovered the SL spotted them making their purchase, followed them back to the barrack, then grabbed the 1SG.) The 1SG asked if they were snorting butane. Snargle, believing himself to be in the throes of self-induced delirium, said yes.

The two were brought before the captain, who blew his top (he did this several times a day) and had them taken to the nearest military hospital with orders to have their stomachs pumped for evidence. He immediately began the paperwork to have them thrown out of the army and into prison for drug possession and use. Before matters could proceed very far, Sniggle and Snargle’s attending doctor (also a captain) reported some sobering (ha!) facts back to our CO. 1) Inhaling anything does not put it in your stomach, so pumping it would be useless. 2) Unlike pot, they didn’t have a test for butane. 3) Even if they did, it was probably already out of their bloodstream by the time they got to the hospital. 4) Butane was not a drug, nor illegal. The best he could hope to charge them with under military law was illegal use of a legal substance, the equivalence of a misdemeanor that didn’t include jail or expulsion.

Disheartened at his latest attempt to throw somebody out (he later failed to oust me, even though I was rooting for him, but that’s another story), he settled for hauling them in front of the company and ridiculing them for being idiots. That taught them a lesson they didn’t forget for several seconds, until they hit the butane again and killed the brain cells containing that memory. When I rotated back to the states, both were still alive and well and sucking back the butane on a daily basis.

The lesson here? Don’t smoke pot. You could get into trouble. Stick with safer drugs, like butane or heroin.

Gas, out

3 comments:

Nobius said...

I had a friend pass away from sniffing solvents, he started on butane. Fucked up shit man. Fucked up.

At least I can agree with their taste in music.

"Time" is one of the best metal songs ever.

VomitGod said...

Nice...this reminds me of pyromaniac I was roommates with in military school!

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