AK-47 or White widow? Shane asked, grinning as he pointed at a menu as if either one of us had any business dabbling in strong marijuana. We could barely handle cigarettes, let alone smoke anyone of those strains of weed, that sounded more at home on an MI5 terrorist watch list than in rolling papers. We eventually requested the weakest space cake they had and left to take in the rest of De Wallen.
Eight of us were in Holland for the Rotterdam carnival. As part of our package, we had a day trip to Amsterdam scheduled, and my O-my was it going to be a trip (pardon the pun) that none of us will ever forget. Getting high didn’t appeal to Missy, Prince and Helen, so we (Shane, Ricardo, Carl, Jay and I) decided to split our group in two and meet back at the coach at the end of the day.
Now let it be known that De Wallen (where the red light district is situated) is a small enclave of Amsterdam and is probably one of the craziest sections of any city worldwide. With women in windows and weed, the word ‘liberal’ doesn’t do it justice at all. Suppose De Wallen were a bike rolling down a hill, it’d be brake-less, without a seat, stabilisers, or wheels - just uh rickety old frame trundling at full speed into those fiendish red lights below.
Anywho, we had a good laugh throughout the day and were on the way back to the coach. Jay and I were deliberating on how the “weak space cake” was a little too weak. Unsatisfied: we happened upon, and decided to stop off at the most stereotypical edible peddlers I had seen there. So there’s five of us squeezed-up in this weed takeaway shop, plastic inflatable palm trees everywhere, reggae beating over the speakers.
The guys behind the counter wore red, gold and green string vests and had locs. In true British fashion, I began small talk. I assumed they were Jamaican, and with me being of Jamaican heritage, I asked where in Jamaica they were from.
They both answered ‘Barbados’. ‘Oh’, I replied - Now here’s where Carl swears I had doomed our expedition, fore I went on to state - “So you guys aren’t real, Rastas then?” Carl reckons that on account of my faux pas, the brother going to get our order from the cabinet stopped in his tracks and looked back at me in complete disdain before selecting an entirely different batch of space muffins to those requested. Anyway, we paid and left. Carl, Shane and Ricardo had walked up ahead, opened their muffins, and ate them whole.
We had agreed to buy rum to drink back at the hotel before heading out for our evening meal - so we stopped off at a shop that had benches out front, and it was there that both Jay and I realised that the rest of the guys had accepted their seats on the maddest ride in Dam! The space muffin-coaster. The only catch was, it rode you instead.
Whilst outside the shop, Shane began to giggle. When I say ‘giggle’, I mean tears and uncontrollable fits of what I first thought was a joyful display of happiness (Boy, was I wrong). Ricardo took a seat outside the shop, slouched halfway down on a bench - both hands in his pockets, his eyes mere slits in his face whilst Carl, deep in silence, repeatedly walked between the seats like one of those deranged bears in captivity.
Shane’s giggle rapidly escalated to hysterical bouts of laughter. By now, these boys are starting to look crazy, and I have to ask if everyone’s cool? Ricardo gives me a look that I now know meant brother - right now I'm simply trying to keep my choo-choo on the tracks. Jay shook his head in disbelief, looked at me and said, “Shit, how strong could those things be?” At that point, Shane comes up from behind and puts his arms around both of us and says, “Trust me, I’m waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too high right now!” At that point, I don’t know what part of Shane’s “way too high” Jay didn’t get, but he took his muffin and devoured it. Four down, one to go.
So Jay and I walked into the shop, chose a bottle of rum, placed it on the counter then split to get individual items. Before picking up some wine gums and nuts, I walked around for a bit, then headed back to the till. When I got there, Jay had both hands on the counter, hoovering over several bottles of water and a shelf-load of Pringles. I looked further and couldn’t see the rum. So I’m like - “Jay, that’s way too much crisp - bro, and where’s the rum?” Jay turned to me - Pringle crumbs falling out of his mouth as he spoke, “Nah bro…” - Shaking his head - “Nah…we won’t be needing that rum tonight, trust me.” With that, he turned back towards the shopkeeper, purchased the Pringles he was eating, paid for the water and left the rest of the items he had gathered behind. The shopkeeper and I watched him clambering through the shop door; I was shocked at how fast he had gone under.
Getting back to the coach was a mission. A), we couldn’t remember where we were meant to go and, B) the rest of them were so high it was astounding. I liken the journey back to the coach to that of a Sheppard trying to keep sheep from going astray. By the time one was back on track, another had f@*ked off doing something else. We finally made it, and I cannot describe how happy I was to see Missy, Prince and Helen. Prince frowned at their peculiar behaviour, “What’s wrong with them?” He asked. I told him, and he just laughed. Carl, Shane and Jay went to the back of the coach, and I sat next to Prince. The coach set off, and all I could hear from the rear was Shane and Carl giggling and bussin’ jokes with each other and other passengers. I looked over at them, and from where I was sat, it looked like they were over the worst and were now having a rip-roaring time without me - FOMO set in. I took my muffin out and figured if I had three quarters and gave a fourth away, I wouldn’t be hit as hard, so I offered a quarter to Prince - who took one look at the others and declined. So I turned and offered Missy the piece, she took it, and I had the rest. Five minutes had passed, and I felt nothing. Eventually, I fell asleep.
When I woke, we had arrived back in Rotterdam, and everybody was making their way off the coach. Prince had to haul me up, and immediately I knew something was off, really off. Edging my way out of the seats felt like an extraordinarily complex task. I walked the coach holding seat headrests for support, and when I got to the steps to disembark, I descended them as if I were seventy-five with bad knees and worn disks. When I took the final step off the coach, I heard (within my head) that weird sound the six million dollar manmade when he would jump off buildings or kick objects, and I knew right off I was in for one hell of uh long night.
So now we’re all stood in a huddle outside our hotel, discussing plans for the rest of the evening. Now, If I were completely honest, my sole goal was to keep all my marbles in their bag. Eventually, Prince, Missy and Helen got fed up with our random bouts of laughter - not to mention our inability to follow any single thread. Pissed off, they went up to their rooms, leaving us to our own devices. Oh boy!
We (the wasted) decided we’d go into Rotterdam central to eat (How we were going to manage this, only God knew). Before I knew it, we were walking towards the train station, each randomly bursting out into unruly fits of laughter that would set everyone else off. My stomach muscles had begun to hurt so badly I thought I was going to keel over and die. Between laughing and walking in irregular patterns, we tried to hold regular conversations, but conversing whilst at that altitude is so mentally taxing, we opted to walk in silence, every one of us trying to hold on to the minuscule shred of sanity the muffins had left. Just shy of the train station, Jay turns to me and says, “Mate, do ya reckon if I go hospital they er…they, can er. They can errr get rid of this feeling?” Now, if you knew Jay, you’d know he was by far one of the most level headed people you knew, and his question smacked of panic, which panicked me further. I stopped in my tracks and did the basketball time-out hand sign to their backs (I know, trust me, I do) and announced I was abandoning the mission and would be heading back to the hotel. Everyone agreed and followed suit.
I kid you not, on the way back, the theme music of the X-Men the animated series kept playing over in my head, and I began to believe we were characters from the show. Don’t ask me shit about it; I have no idea why my brain would conjure such things. We returned to the hotel and walked straight towards the restaurant, which was oval-shaped with a bar and bartender in the middle, seats situated all around. Shane took a seat at one end, Jay on one side, Carl chose to leave and go up to the room, and Ricardo just stood swaying - hands in his pockets, cap pulled down over his eyes. What must that lady have thought? We had come in together but were seated so far apart you’d have thought we were strangers.
My mouth suddenly felt like it was filled with sawdust and cotton wool. I ordered five one-litre bottles of water. At this time, Jay is so engrossed in his menu, you’d have thought he was reading the Magna-f@%king-carter. I look over, and Ricardo is gone. I look towards Shane, who is now ordering everything on the menu, and I mean everything! Wings, fries, pasta, salad, a bread basket (normally meant for a group), more wings and cake. As he’s ordering, the visualisation of all that food makes me feel sick. The waitress also takes jay’s order and leaves to go to the kitchen. Shane then shouts from across the bar, “Someone could punch me in the face right now, and I’d have to charge it ta the game.” I look at him and think - f@%k this, I’m going bed. When you’re that high, there’s no time for niceties like hi, bye, and how’d you dos - you just get up and go.
I got up and took whatever bottles of water I could, the grand total of two of the five I had paid for, and began making my way to the lift. I looked back, and Shane is watching, waiting for me to react to his comment. In my head, I’m thinking - we are way too far in distance for us to engage anymore. Secondly, I ain’t got time for jokes, my brother, I’m trying to keep my shit together, and you’re not helping. I shuffle past reception and get in the lift but cannot remember which floor I’m on. I ride that thing up and down at least three times. An older woman eventually joined me, and we looked at each other. I recognised her from the coach trip earlier; unfortunately, she shared the same look as Jay and them - and I conclude that she’s obviously mashed as well. We both rode the lift, up and down, at least twice, swaying in absolute silence before she got off, and I eventually remembered my floor.
I opened my room door, and Carl is sprawled out on Ricardo’s bed. I wanted to ask him how and why he’s in our room but immediately came to the conclusion that I just didn’t give a shit about the answer. I laid down on my bed, and the room goes wild! Spinning out of control, my heart started beating fast, I closed my eyes, trying to calm my body to sleep, but I feel appalling. I looked up at the ceiling, and I kid you not, shadow animals are running on it - at that point, I was like Nope, don’t like that, I need an ambulance - right now! I jumped up and called reception. I told them to get me an ambulance. Carl sprang up from Ricardo’s bed and screamed, “Noooooooo! I don’t need no ambulance, man!” I looked over at him, ignored his plea and continued. “Yes, I’m in room 355; I need an ambulance please, in fact, you might need a few”. The women asked what’s wrong. I told her I’m incredibly high, and my heart is moving mad. She began to laugh. Looking back now, she was probably used to this from overzealous Brits coming back from Amsterdam. She told me to come down and wait in reception. Carl insists on coming with me.
Once down in the lobby, I glanced into the restaurant area and Shane and Jay are gone. A fellow guest from the hotel was trying to be helpful - and he’s like, “Bro, I’ve been there, you don’t need a hospital, you need ta ride it out.” I looked at him like - brother, if I could raise my hands right now, you wouldn’t have teeth. Anyway, my ambulance arrived, I went to get in, and this random dude begins to walk with Carl and me; eventually, Carl gets annoyed with him and tells him to f@%k off.
I looked around outside, and there are two other ambulances, with patience from the hotel getting in. So now I’m sat in my ambulance with the doors slid open, and the paramedics are talking in Dutch whilst checking my blood pressure and vitals. They gave me sugar sachets to swallow, and I’m like, Ooo-kay, not sure this is it, guys, I was thinking more of an open heart surgery type solution - “but hey”. Anyway, my heart rate wouldn’t settle, so they decided it was best I go to the hospital to be on the safe side. As we were about to leave, a man and his wife came over and began talking to my paramedics. I looked closer, and it’s the woman from the lift earlier. Her husband was like, “My wife’s had some of that funny cake, and I think she’s having uh heart attack”. I know I should be ashamed to admit this, but all I could think was - Bro, that’s you and your wife’s business… Right now, I need all these guys on me. Your gonna have to get your own shit.
I think they gave me a sedative, as the next bit is a complete blur. I woke up in the hospital; Carl is sat in a seat. Nurses and doctors are in and out of the room, asking me questions and doing tests. They eventually gave me an injection, and things go black; my last thoughts were of my fiancé and mother and how much I would miss them. My next memory is sharp, bright daylight, making the white hospital room glow. My initial thoughts were… Oh lord, I didn’t make it! The feeling of dread quickly subsided when a nurse came through my curtains with a breakfast trolley, her blonde hair humming under the suns rays. She smiled, her face was warm and kind, and I felt at ease. I took the food and water on offer and awaited a doctor to come and check me over. The doctor came and gave me the all-clear - which I thank God he did, as I had to catch my return ferry from Calais that afternoon.
My friends had called, and I explained I was on my way. When I arrived back at the hotel, everyone was sat In the restaurant area eating breakfast, looking like shit warmed up with raisins. Shortly after, we packed our bags, got on the coach and went home; that bad feeling from the muffin hanging around us like a bad smell. It took me days to feel one hundred percent again. A week after the trip, I emptied my short pockets as I wanted to wash them and found the wrapper for that dreaded muffin. Written clear as day on the packaging were the instructions for consumption - “DO NOT CONSUME MORE THAN A QUARTER A DAY”. I had to laugh. I threw it in the bin, vowing to never touch an edible again and guess what? I never have. We still laugh about it till this day. The story never gets old.
Tell me about your worst edible trip in the comments section below.
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