You didn’t think it was ever going to happen, did you? Well, it finally did! May I introduce (drummmm rollllllll):
“Here, try some of this,” Kaden said, rattling a small plastic pill bottle at Jamie.
“What is it?” Jamie drained the mug he was holding and plopped it on the sales counter. Coke tasted weird when you drank it from a coffee cup—or maybe it was the combination of the tequila with the dregs of the rum bottle they had dumped in that gave it that odd flavour; Jamie wasn’t really sure. The tequila was all gone now too.
The cat purred, and he leaned into Jamie’s hand so hard he pushed it right into a stack of display boxes, toppling them over.
One of them fell on its side, the lid popping off. A couple of blue stones rolled out onto the counter. Yes, two—there were definitely two. Jamie only had to make a little bit of an effort to focus his eyes to see that there were two, not four, or maybe even si-six. The cat batted at them with his paw. They were round and smooth, a deep blue with a white pattern like a star in the centre. “Those are cool,” Jamie said, [and he] divided what was left of the coke between his mug and Kaden’s tumbler.
He morosely stared into his mug; the coke had only filled it a third of the way. “Is there anything to top this up with?”
“Lemme see,” Kaden said. He was rummaging around under the counter, and now emerged somewhat unsteadily. “Score! Check it out!” He triumphantly held up a turquoise glass bottle. […]
“Ah.” Jamie nodded. … The room started to wave up and down at the edge of his vision. He tipped his head back and forth, and the effect intensified. Pretty crazy. “So, what’s in that there thing?” he said, pointing his mug at the little pill bottle sitting beside the cash register.
“Oh, yeah, that,” Kaden said, “‘s just some pills. I think those things can give you a pretty wild trip; …” He popped the top off the pill container and shook two bright red tablets out onto his hand. “So, you up for this?” He tantalisingly waved his palm under Jamie’s nose.
“Not without something to wash it down,” said Jamie. He twisted the cap off the gin bottle, splashed a generous portion into his mug, and some into Kaden’s tumbler. Only a bit of it spilled on the counter. Not much at all. Probably no more than half a cup.
“You take the red pill,” Kaden intoned, “you stay in Wonderland…”
Jamie grabbed one of the pills from Kaden’s hand and stuck it into his mouth. “C’mon, you too!” he said around the tablet on his tongue.
Kaden followed suit, then raised his glass.
“…and I’ll show you how deep the rabbit hole goes!” they chanted in unison, clinking their cups together. They dumped the drinks down their throats, stared at each other for a moment and then burst into giggles.
“But what if I wanted the blue pill?” Jamie said. His head was spinning a bit—was that from the pill?
“S-sorry,” Kaden said, “n-no can do. You c-c-could try the s-st-stones, they’re b-bl-blue.” His eyes rolled back in his head, and he crashed to the floor behind the counter.
Jamie tried to lean over the counter to check if Kaden was okay, but then thought better of it. Too much spinning.
The cat, from his perch on the side counter, gave Jamie an inscrutable look, then reached out his paw and gently tapped the two blue stones, making them roll in Jamie’s direction.
Jamie looked at them. They seemed to almost give off a bit of a pulsing light. Blink, blink, blink… Kaden might have a point.
“But they’re stones, Crookshanks,” Jamie said, “not pills! You can’t swallow stones, nope, no siree.” He put down his empty mug and picked up the stones, one in each hand. He held them in front of his eyes—yes, he could still keep them in focus, yup, uh-huh—then held them out to the cat. … “Or maybe, maybe they’re magic, and you have to say a spell to make them work? Might be worth a shot.” The cat blinked, and Jamie made a face. “Yeah, you’re right—I don’t actually know any spells.” He stared at the stones whose white stars were twinkling at him from their shiny blue depths. And then he had an idea.
“Star light, star bright,” he chanted,
“First star I see tonight,
“I wish I may, I wish I might
“Have the wish I wish tonight!”
He giggled. Wishing. You had to make a wish. So he did, and then he moved the two stones in his fingers towards each other. Closer, closer, closer—and they touched.
Everything around Jamie started to swirl—a giant counterclockwise dance of blue light and colour whirled around him. He lost track of which way he was facing, of left and right and up and down, and then he no longer knew where he was at all.
What? Swirling blue light? Where have we heard that one before? Is he going to end up in …