This is a bit of a different creepypasta in that it involves a sports video game, namely MLB2K13. It also maybe belongs as much in /lit/ as it does in /x/. Largely, it is subjective, except for what happened to me at The Rogers Centre recently, which is what made me want to have a record of this instead of just dismissing the whole thing as a bad, if spectacularly-involved drug trip.
Bare with me for a couple paragraphs of background info. Those familiar with the sci-fi author Philip K. Dick can skip the next bit.
For the past couple months I had gotten really into Dick’s work. As a teenager I’d read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep because that’s the book Blade Runner is based on. But I never got beyond that. A couple years ago I read Valis, which I found fascinating. Dick was eating amphetamines by the handful and either crazy, paranoid, or possessed of some kind of occult power at that stage in his life. A couple interesting things happened: 1) A beam of pink light told him his son had a serious heart condition. He told his wife this, took his son to the doctor, and the putative beam’s prediction was confirmed. 2) He came to believe that time was an illusion. And that we were all really living in the Roman Empire. He called the collective illusion we were experiencing “The Black Iron Prison.”
Lately (and as you’ll see, the term ‘lately’ still feels strange for me to use), I’d been getting into the weightier Dick novels, including The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch and Ubik. Both deal with the idea of a false consciousness perpetrated on mankind. Three Stigmata is perhaps his greatest novel because it deals with the idea of a contagious malevolent consciousness. And who needs that right?
Here’s the jacket copy:
Two drugs — One to make your lifetime a trip. The other to make your trip an eternity…
Hell is a future in space.
A future where at any time you can be deported to colonize alien planets.
Unless you’re spaced out…
The only way to survive on the colony worlds is with Can-D — The drug that blows your mind back home for an hour of total bliss.
On a trip beyond any human experience…
Now Chew-Z is here. The new narcotic that makes that brief hour an eternity. Where past, present and future belong to the most diabolical pusher you’ve ever met — Palmer Eldritch.
What made me decide to write my experience as a creepypasta instead of say calling into Coast to Coast AM or emailing Jonathan Lethem or someone involved with Philip K. Dick scholarship is that, in true creepypasta form, it also involves a video game.
Since I’ve gotten older I only have patience for sports video games. I love watching my stats compile, the more realistic the better. Nothing worse than some bench player hitting .456 with 52 home runs.
So here’s what happened: I’m listening to an audiobook of The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick, a 900-page distillation of his 9000-word personal cosmology. A lot of bad craziness mixed in with some small smatterings of philosophical brilliance. I’m also playing MLB2K13, near the end of my first season in franchise mode with the Toronto Blue Jays, my hometown club.
My roommate comes home and says he’s just bought two packages of 40x salvia at a nearby head shop. I don’t do drugs much anymore, outside of the odd bowl of marijuana, but I figured anything sold legally at a head shop couldn’t be that potent. (If you take one thing from this account, know that high-potency Salvia is not to be messed with.) We both took a small hit from a pipe. I didn’t feel anything at first, so I made the mistake that would cost me about 15 years of conscious hell. We packed a bong, and I took a monster hit and held it in for as long as I could. The controller slid from my hands. My dog began barking at me. I felt like I was being ripped off of this planet. The best description I could give is that I felt like a cartoon character being plucked off of celluloid by an omniscient cartoonist in one of those old meta-Looney Tunes cartoons.
Then I was in the game. Or more specifically, I was in the dugout sitting beside Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, and the rest of the Blue Jays. At first I could only move my head in the limited way that the game’s NPCs were animated to do.
“The empire never ended,” manager John Gibbons said to me, which in retrospect, was probably something from the audio book mixing in with my hallucination involving the game.
Then the pixelated reality began to glitch out, and I was no longer staring out at R.A. Dickey on the mound. My perspective was now the ‘live action’ perspective known as ‘waking reality’. I was staring at a pathetic wretch about to engage in combat v. a lion. The team and I were now spectators at the Flavian Ampitheatre, aka The Coliseum.
“You bring this upon us,” Jose Reyes said to me, still speaking broken English despite I guess the empire never having ended and us being back in the 10th century.
Then there was another glitch and we were back at the ballpark. I’ll speculate that this occurred because my roommate had turned off the game and the audio book. He later told me that after I collapsed on the floor he decided not to take his hit from the bong, and instead watched over me for about three minutes before I came to and asked what happened.
In those three minutes I lived what felt like 15 years. The seed had been planted, and despite the game and audiobook turned off, this was the model of consciousness we were stuck in. My subconscious was left to fill in the blanks. So we did what I imagined baseball players did. We showered and ate from a buffet after the game. We went back to our hotel floor and some of us played cards. Every once and a while someone would appear grey and inhuman, and I knew they were not real. Words cannot describe the sinister disappointment I experienced each time this irreality became evident. The worst part was every once in a while someone would look at me in a strange way, and I knew I appeared grey, inhuman, unreal to them also.
I was a second baseman for no reason I can think of. We’d take infield practice, but there was always this unsettling vibe that we were in a rote simulation. That the empire never ended. That we were in a Black Iron Prison mandated by code. Some of the players came to resent me the most, because I was the interloper, but they also recognized each other as being sub-real, so let’s just say there was a lot of crankiness and confusion. Ballplayers, as a lot, are not metaphysicians.
Offseasons came and went. I engaged with my fictional ballplayer’s family—an attractive blonde wife, two kids. But all the while I felt an ugliness inside of me, that Palmer Eldritch and I had been fused as one.
We reported for spring training like it was the dream model of hell. There were glitches galore. Eventually guys on the team started to retire and were replaced by younger players who seemed equally confused and horrified. After twelve seasons I retired and started doing play by play analysis for Rogers Sportsnet strangely enough. Maybe that doesn’t sound so bad, but again I want to stress this underlying dread everyone felt at all times, knowing we weren’t in reality, yet being unable to escape.
Then one day after all those many years my eyes opened and my roommate stood above me, gravely concerned.
“Dude, I was just about to call an ambulance!”
“You smoked salvia.”
“I have to get to the studio,” I said.
“What studio? You work at a call centre.”
The consensus reality slowly returned to me. There were only glimpses of what I experienced in the Black Iron MLB prison at first, but after hours of meditation I was able to recall much of it.
Anyone who’s ever had a bad trip can probably relate on some level to this experience. And it’s easy to write it off as a hallucination, especially given the aural and visual stimuli of the game and the audio book.
But then a few weeks later, as I was trying to put back the pieces of my sanity, my roommate and I went to a Jays game. We both have a $100 season’s pass which is an excellent value, but involves sitting in the upper deck. We were able to sneak down to some field level seats this night however, right by the first baseline.
I saw Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion chatting in the on-deck circle. Someone behind me yelled out, “Good luck Edwin!” and he glanced in my direction. A look of pure horror crossed his face. He tapped Bautista on the shoulder. Bautista looked at me and they both began shaking their heads. “No,” I saw Bautista mouth, “No,” and then he walked into the dugout with tears in his eyes. Mark DeRosa pinch hit for him.