Roy Goes On a Trip

 

It was the largest mushroom Roy had ever seen. It shouldn’t have been there, rooted between the cracks of the crazy paving. Even more worrying was its smug expression; an impudent, marshmallow face grinning up at him.

Roy almost smiled back in surprise, but managed to control himself. When hundreds more grinning mushrooms popped up, he decided things were getting too strange and fled up the path towards a grotto.

As Roy approached, the shell encrusted entrance turned into gaping jaws - which swallowed him whole.

The belly of the grotto was alive with liquid creatures lapping about his knees, trying to digest him. The more he struggled, the lower the fossil encrusted ceiling descended. On the verge of being crushed, he was catapulted into a world of prehistoric beasts. Fleet-footed carnivores with beady yellow eyes were hunting gigantic browsers the size of cathedrals. Then the predators turned and saw the young interloper, a much easier lunch than a massive brontosaurus.

The flock of deinonychus surrounded their new meal, snapping at him hungrily. Roy closed his eyes tightly, and would have clicked his heels three times to wish himself back home if he had been wearing Dorothy’s ruby slippers. But the ploy worked and once again he found himself in a different dimension. It wasn’t Kansas or the Land of Oz, though the faces now surrounding him were more familiar.

Kat had always reminded him a little of a meat eating raptor, though given the state of his teeth he probably wasn’t that dangerous. The gang that tagged along behind the nasty little lout were regarded as life’s losers rather than the terror of the neighbourhood, which made Kat even more obnoxious. He put his ugly face too near Roy’s. Roy punched it and saved the dentist the trouble of having to extract a couple of rotten teeth. No sooner had the blow landed than the switch controlling his progress through this weird otherworld rotated a couple more notches.

He was standing on a high peak. Below, beetling-browed faces in the rock glowered up and threatened to scream in rage. For fear of falling down one of their throats, Roy jumped in the hope this bad dream would allow him to fly. Instead he landed in a gullet that immediately tried to swallow him. The nightmare now seemed too real as it began to turn into the most visceral, violent video game made flesh.

Roy tried to yell out, but that was strangled in his throat as razor sharp talons snatched him from the devouring face in the rock. He was carried into a stratosphere filled with pumpkin-shaped creatures wearing gnomish expressions like the mushrooms.

Their smiles gaped wide to reveal tunnels into black treacle oblivion.

The talons released Roy into the nearest cavernous mouth and he tumbled, panic stricken, into a glutinous, soul-devouring, black ocean. Huge shapes butted him this way and that until he was sucked down into a deep sump where dark energy gathered up quantum detritus. This was the toilet at the end of the Universe.

Something massive was bouncing on his chest.

And there were words.

“Keep going Mavis or we’ll lose him.”

There was an exasperated voice. “Stupid little idiots - why do they do it?”

A flashing blue light briefly penetrated Roy’s eyelids before the pumpkin creatures returned to chase him, followed by the rock faces, Kat and his gang, dinosaurs and, eventually, marshmallow-faced mushrooms.

“He’s back Sid. Let’s get him into the wagon.”

Then the throbbing started. Roy could feel his whole body rise and fall with each nauseous spasm. He was crashing through doors, being tossed from trolley to table, from table to bed, from bed down a bottomless pit filled with huge, writhing worms.

Then came real pain.

He screamed.

“We have to get that stuff out of his stomach before we can deal with the fractures,” a calm voice decided.

There was the jab of a hypo in his thigh and the writhing of the worms turned into a sedate waltz as his stomach was turned inside out.

“Next of kin?” Another voice called out.

“Being informed.”

“They needn’t rush. He’ll be in the operating theatre for some time.”

A mask was placed over Roy’s face and at last his nightmare came to an end.

The next voice he heard sounded distant. By its edge of authority it wasn’t a nurse.

“Come on, give the doctors a clue, love. What drugs were you doing?”

“Dunno,” he murmured. “Friend gave it to me.”

“What? Again? Just who is this friend of yours? If we can’t do him for supplying drugs, he should be prosecuted for being a twerp in charge of a chemistry set.”

Roy managed to focus on the young woman taking notes. So far she had only managed to jot down ‘unresponsive’.

“What happened?” he groaned.

“Long or short version?”

“Can’t remember.”

“Short version then?”

“Tell me?”

“You thought you were Batman and tried to fly off the balcony of your flat. Pity you didn’t remember that it was three floors up.”