Stoned Soup

   Four sharp raps on the door broke his concentration. Ben snapped his pencil in irritation before he slowly turned toward the door. Another interruption?! Who could it possibly be? The postman's already come, package delivery too, and I haven't ordered lunch yet. "What!" he shouted angrily at the door.

   "Ben! Alright, you're home! Let us in, man."

   "John? Bloody hell..." Ben opened the door to his apartment and let his friends in. Sam and Dave went straight for the couch and flopped down. John stood in the entry way, glancing around. Ben closed the door and sighed wistfully at his drafting table with it's fragmented pencil and half-finished character sketches.

   "We're not interrupting anything, are we?" John continued before Ben could respond. "Great! We were in the neighborhood and thought we'd drop in on our pal." Ben could hear his game system turning on in the living room. "We figure it's about lunch time I wanted to know if you had an plans for lunch."

   "None yet.. I was thinking of ordering something from that deli down the street in a bit."

   "Cool. You still have that thing though?"

   "The what?" Ben racked his brain to figure out what John might be asking about. "The 'magic spice packet?' Yeah, I think it's still in the kitchen."

   "Awesome! That thing makes the best ramen."

   "Yeah... I guess we could have some ramen. I'll need some more stuff though..." Ben walked in to his kitchen and started some water boiling in a large pot. "You guys want to run down to the shop and get some veggies?"

   "Nah, man. The packet is magic, man." Sam, from the living room.

   John followed Ben in to the kitchen, stage whispering, "He don't really get it sometimes." Ben nodded. "Whatcha need, man?"

   "Check the fridge." Ben searched the cupboards, pulling out various spices until he found a spice packet from a pouch of ramen. The packet had originally been a duplicate, a second packet of spice in a pouch of dried noodles Ben opened years ago. He didn't notice it until the foil covered object tumbled out of the plastic bag with the noodles, in to the boiling water. He was too tired at the time to fish it out and decided to keep cooking it and eventually ate around it. He finally fished it out of the bowl when he was finished eating, rinsed it off, and put it back in the cupboard.

   A few days later, Ben made another bowl of ramen and on a whim added the extra packet to the water again, without opening it. That bowl was the best bowl of instant noodles he could remember tasting, so he made it a tradition, eventually using it to prepare instant noodles for his friends once or twice.

   "Not much in the fridge. You order in a lot? Buncha takeaway containers here..."

   "Hmm... those might be good. Check and see if anything's growing in 'em." Nothing was, so the leftover Chinese food was set on the counter next to the stove, among the spices.

   "Okay, water's boiling. Magic packet is in. Four packages of noodles and their spice packets." John stirred while Ben narrated as he added ingredients. He decided if he wasn't going to get any drawing done, he'd at least have fun cooking. "A dash of garlic powder." He sniffed at a container in his hand. "Leftover vegetable lo mein." He stared in to another container. "Some sesame chicken. Why not? Pinch of salt."

   John stood back and watched as Ben ceased narration and started shaking in containers of spices at random. "Ben, wait! Cayenne pepper and maple syrup? You've gone mad!"

   Ben stirred the pot a few times, then whirled and shoved the spoon in John's mouth. With a quirked eyebrow he asked, "Do you still think me mad?" He withdrew the spoon and continued stirring.

   John stood slackjawed, struck dumb as the flavors danced on his tongue. He felt beside himself with gastronomic joy, closing his eyes and steadying himself against the counter as his legs threatened to give up and stop supporting his weight. "No man... that's fuggin tasty..." he finally drawled. "That packet man..." John slowly slid down the cabinet door until he was leaning against it, slumped on the floor.

   "Mad indeed! Ha!" Ben gave the soup a few more stirs before shouting "Soup's on!" and fetching some bowls from the cabinet above the sink.

   Sam and Dave walked in to the kitchen, led by their noses. "Smells great, man. What's with John?" Dave gestured to the figure on the floor, apparently passed out in ecstasy with a wide, happy grin and drool running down his chin.

   "He got a sample taste." Ben ladled soup in to three bowls and handed one each to Sam and Dave. He led them to the living room and waited for them to eat before taking a bite himself.

    Sam eagerly took a spoonful, despite the steam rising off the bowl. He closed his eyes as the flavors exploded in his mouth and followed the nerve pathways to his brain. His jaw went slack as fireworks danced behind his eyelids and his head fell back. Every muscle relaxed at once as Sam fell asleep in near orgasmic bliss.

   Dave blew on his spoonful to cool it a bit before sampling. He inhaled deeply of the soup's vapors and soon found he was looking down at himself, seated on Ben's couch, with his arms at his side and his spoon on the floor. His body slowly fell to one side, laying against the arm of the couch. Dave felt himself float slowly upward toward the ceiling. He reached out to his body to stay, to have another taste of soup, but felt the inexorable pull dragging him feet first ever upward.

   Ben sat back and finished his bowl of soup. Peace at last he thought, listening to his three friends sleeping soundly. He turned back to his table and picked up a fresh pencil and a clean sheet of paper.

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