That One Perfect Shot (Fish Tale #2)

“That One Perfect Shot”

Fish Tale #2


For all the trouble, gathering the resources, the wait, everything that comes with preparing to finally buy heroin…this feels like that one perfect shot. Executed. The perfect crime, if there ever was one. Slide through the lair, exchange food stamps for the items I desire. Dope, new needle, new q-tip ,the hookup, he gave it to me. Leaving the shadiest of dwellings, this dude is drawlin in the parking lot right behind the lair .The car is noticeably on, the old sedan’s engine rumbling. His girlfiend’s in the driver seat lookin around all nervous; this dude’s got like 4 bags and the spoon and syringe all in his lap and as i’m walkin out. The hookup, this oldhead’s waving at them like ‘get the fuck out’ and this punk is confused as fuck as his girlfriend pulls out slightly and this just…doucher, black hat, face tats, just like…total faggot. He’s… I can see him through the car window, telling his nervous, probably non-using (or at this point dabbling) girlfriend “nah chill.” Yeah. You’re only in the alley where you just copped heroin and shooting up in the car that blocks any cars from getting through. As i’m walkin he keeps looking up as i’m walkin by yet it’s the oldhead whose lair it is that’s now knocking on the window telling him to get the fuck out. This guy just violated a cardinal rule. Never piss off your heroin dealer. He holds the power to leave you sick, puking and shitting at the same time, or have you floating in a cloud of apathetic euphoria. And the oblivious car doucher keeps looking at me like ‘what the fuck.’ ME. As they pull out, trash seeps out of toothless bae’s mouth, his trashy ass girlfriend says something at me not audible due to the trashy accent and my lack of care. I have what I need, that’s all that matters.
 Heading down the block, I realize that he didn’t give me my fucking foodstamp card back yet, which only has maybe $9 left on it anyway. When it comes down to it, if I have $10 left and I’m dopesick and hungry, I can either force-feed myself some crap that I risk vomiting shortly thereafter, or shoot the dope and not be withdrawing and not caring to eat. I’m walking around chugging a 2L of sprite, nicorette gum, and Neurontin. They’re my meals today.
So the library which is my default spot to get high is only maybe 4 mins away, 3 blocks. The walk gets progressively longer as I approach the destination of my ultimate desire. Finally, I arrive, walking straight for the bathroom. Given my disheveled appearance, the heroin epidemic, other homeless addicts hanging out at the library until the shelter opens, and my going straight to the bathroom, someone probably knows. I don’t care.
Into the library bathroom, it doesn’t reek like shit so I don’t have to imagine shit particles going in my veins. That’s a plus. I plan my shot wisely: plug earbuds in my phone which rests in my right pocket, as I use phone charger to tie off with in order to get a vein to the surface, and have another pocket open to slide that in with the rig once I finish. As always, if I haven’t shot up in ten or eleven hours my hands tremble as I pour the powder into a water bottle cap. Suck up some sink water. Spray it into the cap and toss a q-tip’s tip in. Swab the thing around to absorb everything, hopefully filtering out the non-heroin stuff. At least the non-water soluble things. The needle presses into the cotton and I draw it back. Turn it upside down and flick the syringe so that the bubbles of air rise to the top, and impatiently press the plunger so that the air evacuates. And then, into the vein. The signature plume of blood rushes into the rig. I force it in the opposite direction.
The ineffable rush. I stop to enjoy it.
Basically all goes well. Potent heroin. An easy shot. Time to enjoy it. Smooth execution followed by rapid cleanup, then outside to smoke my first cig of the day. The cigarette after a heroin rush beats a cigarette after a meal, even after sex. This says it’s a Newport and i got it offa DC but it feels and tastes and has the airiness of a rolly…guess ill never know. The rush continues to fluster me as i roll-stumble (somewhere along that continuum) outside, match lights the cig, Youtube Red marks “Redefinition” by Black Star as the song to start all within an instant of gently yet effectively pressing open the exit door; on the steps, leaning over slightly, i inhale. Cool shadows hide some of the smoke trailing away in the already fragmenting wind. A warm rush also fades just as fast as the invisible air carries that clogged breath away. The peak of the day effectively ends as my no longer tense muscles slouch imperfectly over what I would have once labeled as grimey steps. But who am i to judge the markings of where other men traveled? Is their dirt not the soil for my future? Echoing before they spiral away with a whirlwind of solitary leaves, these thoughts and more dampen and settle like my eyelids over the ruins of where once large pupils lurked. The heroin is in. No longer does food or shelter or future present itself along the complex crossroads of my frontal lobe. Instead, pleasure in its rawest measure rubs against the innard of my skull, and nothing more. As I stand up, I do not carry, but merely pilot the poorly programmed machine nowhere, save for where it will crash inevitably, invariably, endlessly, all across the compromised hyparxis of fate.

A New Breath (Fish Tale #1)

“A New Breath”

Fish Tale #1



This is a story about a person named Fish. For all intended purposes, I will speak as Fish in the first person for the duration of this fictional story.

First, for some background info. I’ve done most drugs; it’s almost easier to name the few I haven’t at least tried once. Of the plethora of psychoactives I’ve ingested, I can boast significant experience with marijuana, “spice”, LSD, DMT, oxycodone, heroin, and Adderall.
At any rate I used to smoke weed and trip and things went fine until at some point I transitioned into opiates. Long story short: grew dependent, got arrested, went to jail.
The revolving door released me about a month ago, and I have struggled since to stay on the “right” path. At 23 years old, with no degree, I have come back to my Mom’s house working no job with a wandering soul. Following my return I have since drank on a few occasions, smoked a pot, and even shot dope a few times, feeling relatively hopeless in the process.
An old friend from middle school ended up moving like five doors down from me. When I head over to hang out with him, the topic of tripping pops up, as when he takes out his weed I can’t help but notice a few hits of DMT and molly inside the jar. Asking him if he could connect me with somebody who has any glorious entheogens-acid in particular- he gladly puts me in contact with a person in Philly called Jx.
Now, my cousin T; we’ve always been close, like brothers. Back in high school I turned him on to pot and got him drunk his first time. Although he does not use drugs to the extent that I do, he certainly does enjoy them. Being an intelligent person, I’ve always thought that he would benefit from and enjoy tripping. When the subject came up recently, it turns out that just as I always wanted to trip with him but never wanted to ask so as to not push yet another drug on yet another person, he always wanted me to ask him because he wanted to explore that intriguingly mysterious realm that I speak of so beneficently.
Yesterday: he picks me up and we drive an hour into Philly to meet this Jx person. The commute proves a hassle, not to mention finding the place. Jx is very nice, though she talks foreeeever; with that said, I really do respect that she gives ” the talk” about tripping responsibly. Even though I can safely classify myself as a seasoned tripper, knowing that she cares makes me happy. She also knows her shit, always a plus when it comes to this kind of weighty substance, not to mention a trait I dig.
Anyway we get back to my place and T has to go to work, so I hold onto the tabs: ten white on white hits with a simplistic design. Looking at them, I want to microdose just a bit…for science obviously, to gauge the vibe of my current house, which I have never tripped at but have shot a lot of dope in. Thus I have some background fears that this history would create a negative atmosphere.
Only one way to find out for sure.
At a little before 6PM, I eat like 1/3 of a tab, followed by another little tear a few minutes later to total roughly half a hit. Jx said that these tabs measure out at about 130-140 ug each. Nobody has ever given me an estimate on the potency of hits I’ve had in the past.
My Mom comes home from work slightly past 6 as usual. Typically she comes home only for a brief period to change and check in before heading to her boyfriend’s house for the night, leaving me with the house to myself. Courtesy of my perpetual luck, this does not mark one of those evenings.
She cooks spaghetti as I start coming up. Within 30-40 minutes I begin to feel a therapeutic expansiveness. With my issues of unemployment, parole, problems with my sister and dad, and brooding depression for starters, I feel the need to explore these issues and commence thinking out loud with my Mom present. I have a very close relationship with my Mom and do not have the most conventional mindframe to begin with, so this does not come off as entirely unusual to have this level of conversation with her during dinner. Though I struggle to find “THE” solution to all of life’s problems, I find myself able to tackle the smaller things, like how I should call my sister or apply for more jobs tomorrow. Seems mundane, but the way I arrive at it feels nothing short of profound.
After eating the spaghetti, as 7 o’clock (t+1) approaches, a walk looks like a good idea. Beautiful weather outside on this early July day..not to mention an excuse to dodge my Mom for a while as I determine how far I am poised to travel for the next several hours. No matter how many times I trip I always get this sensation during the onset that I can summarize as “shit, what did I do?” The idea of suddenly tripping balls for the first time in 3  years in front of my Mom suddenly does not sound very appetizing. Putting in some headphones, I set out on the trail around my neighborhood. And the trip really takes off there…
Listening to the “American Beauty” album of the Grateful Dead, I set off on my journey and as soon as the first note on the first song sings, the flowers and the trees all proceed to vibrate in that manner of animated psychedelia that I have missed for so long. Spotting a green bug on a tree, I stop in my tracks to watch this weird creature crawl around. A characteristically goofy grin melts onto my face, one that will not part with me for another 5 hours or so. Passing other people on the trail arouses some anxiety as they approach, but deciding to say hi to them continually causes me to feel at ease because these people are not expecting me to say hi and it makes me feel like a good neighbor. The geese act hilarious, just in the way they move. Clowns with wings, if I ever saw any.
Then come the tremors. One of the more annoying effects of LSD. Knowing that they constitute just a part of the drug allows me to circumvent my focus from this annoying feature; nonetheless it sparks a certain negativity which I confront rather than avoid, ultimately feeling better for facing it. In the past, when I sold a lot of drugs, passing cars always sparked paranoia that these were cops or something, and I do feel this a little bit initially as cars drive by but then I come to the realization that I’m just not that important to be under surveillance. Not a bad thing at all. In fact, quite humbling.
Trails kick in. Not just little afterimages but I mean like rainbowey trails. Objects are oozing colors. Cooking, frying, it’s hard to describe but everything now does it. The setting sun casts a beautiful color onto the atmosphere, everything glowing in eternal perfection.
As the dark of night encroaches, that sparkly dark but darkness nonetheless, I realize that I have to return home. Checking the clock I find it has not even passed 8PM (t+2) yet, meaning that time distortion has definitely set in. Feeling some anxiety about going home where I know my Mom still dwells, I sit in my backyard for a bit and chainsmoke before entering inside the house. Interact with her briefly, then take the laptop and a book of MC Escher drawings to my bedroom.
In my room, I listen to the “Wish You Were Here” album by Pink Floyd. Here I come to peace with my newish house, where I had done all of my heroin, on the bed where many a needle have pricked my arm. Here, where I had been a scumbag in general. I do not live in the cleanest room of what one could not call the cleanest house, but this bothers me none. I stare at the ceiling as fantastic images come to the fore. These types of visuals do not reign as omnipresent, lingering just beneath the surface instead. Rather as I zone out immersed in music I begin to see these kaleidoscopic snakes and shapes appear on the white ceiling. Colors flash from light to dark, vivid to dull, one end of the hue to another. They fail to shift completely but definitely try to. The music takes on an increasing depth. Initially when I put on the album it felt almost cliche to listen to Pink Floyd on acid as I’ve done this a couple times before but it feels soooo right. The MC Escher picture book too amuses me, perfectly calculated comic relief whenever I grow tired of the ceiling. Mindblowing stuff.
When I go outside to smoke a cigarette, about three hours have passed since ingestion. Darkness now completely covers the outer world. Barefoot once again proves itself the best possible way to go about moving outside as my toes feel so natural in the cool grass, and the clear sky reveals stars that look like fireworks frozen just before exploding.
 When I walk back inside, I venture to my sister’s room where one of my cats refuses to leave. Sitting on her bed petting the cat I truly begin peaking. You see, my sister left a few days ago for a friend’s house partially citing “my behavior” as the reason she can’t live here anymore. This kind of boggled my mind as the incident which set it off was because I slept on the couch and didn’t clean up the food I ate the night before. But sitting on her bed I sink into her shoes, into her mind, my little sister, one room over, for three years watching me do heroin and go to rehab and go to jail…I cry. I cry for a long time, realizing that this wasn’t about me sleeping on the couch but represents a point on a continuum of upset and disappointment brought about by yours truly. I text her, fortunately able to reestablish communication. The drive to improve my life for myself and for my family remains strong in me for several days.
Also, as I stare at the cat, Luna, into her eyes filled with several souls, I also live her life. Not just this life, but nine lives, all of her lives. She was an empress at one point, and in another a wise old woman whose wisdom rarely gets spoken anymore let alone passed on. At my old house this cat used to roam around the yard but now refuses to leave my sister’s room and just stares out the window. I can practically read her thoughts from her eyes and see all these perspectives that she used to have. Now, Luna limps along on her ninth and final life, regretful of nothing.
Although acid is innately visual after a certain dose, at this point in the trip (at least to me), the visuals become irrelevant. When it first starts kicking in it’s like cool, trails, patterns, etc, but after 3 or 4 hours during the peak, the visuals have become old news. They’re incredibly awesome, don’t get me wrong, but they’re simply there…the mental exploration: for that reason primarily I have traveled here. Visualizing my problems as if translucent geometric shapes in space, I burst through them all in a display akin to a modernized version of the arcade game “Asteroids,” logically overcomimg many of my issues in this manner.
“Dark Side of the Moon” is awesome, then I eat a tiiiight ass apple. Skin like a virgin in the right place; such a crunch. Best apple ever. And perfect because of my hunger that I’ve failed to recognize, as tripping tends to do this.
Mucus production increases dramatically for me during trips, thus these globs in the back of my throat slide stickily around. My Mom comes to talk to me, mid-peak, but I find it easy to handle this miniature confrontation nicely and calmly. She doesn’t suspect a thing. Growing cocky, when she asks a question that I find ridiculous, I retort: “are you tripping balls?” She looks at me and laughs, no clue what I meant; I out-laugh her confused laugh. Then some more laughing before she exits down the hallway.
At this point, t+4 or t+5, the effects begin to dwindle slightly. I’m texting my cousin and a friend in San Diego, and by now really wish I dosed with someone else. Although in all fairness, I had no idea I’d actually trip like this: I assumed I’d just feel a buzz at best. The euphoria emanates in my midst so prevalently that I have more than enough of it: I want to share this surplus. With my friends. With my cousin. With everyone. I remember a bit ago texting Jx and saying “get as much of this stuff as you can and stockpile it as if there’s a nuclear war coming. Then when there is a nuclear war, dose all the survivors so that there’s never a nuclear war again.” I get like this when and after tripping sometimes, exhibiting an evangelism of sorts, where suddenly LSD seems to be the solution to all of the world’s problems. Though not as naive as I was in high school when I thought everyone everywhere should eat acid, I do still hold true the belief that it can change the world for the better when used within the proper parameters.

Between the 5th and 6th hour the effects fade rapidly-mentally, anyway-to where by hour six I fesl essentially back to baseline, with the periodic resurgences in intensity that acid induces, in its undulating wave-like manner. The visuals dull down to between 1/3 to 2/3 of peak intensity at any given time for the rest of the night. Though as I said, at this point the visuals just kind of happen. Brighter colors, shiftiness of objects, etc. I watch Family Guy until maybe 5am, t+11 hrs, wide awake until out of the blue I drift asleep.
This experience was overwhelmingly positive for me. I haven’t had a spiritual checkup in ages, which is exactly what acid supplies for me. You may take it to get fucked up, and if you do it as such, you will get fucked up. When used for the right purposes, this is a beautiful chemical. I only wish that I was able to share the experience and euphoria with others, or at least one other. But soon I will trip with my cousin and do just that. And oh boy, I can’t wait to see what a whole tab does!!




As I’m walking down the fine streets of Upper Darby on this unseasonably warm April day, the sky in all its blueness naturally draws my attention. Its image streaked with clouds, the splendor that has inspired so many to create great feats of art. Except a grid of powerlines chops up the view. Although in straightish lines in either direction, they have no pattern as a whole. If they displayed perfect geometry or anything remotely close to it, it’d look ok. A complete lack of symmetry or coordination would also do, but to my eyes this unhappy middle ground, this aesthetic compromise where both sides lose miserably- I find it ugly enough to ruin my awe at the raw sky, our celestial dome.

Now I am forced to contemplate the fate that our race has cast upon this animate planet. I have no other choice. Instantly my mind flashes back to that mystical time in the past lodged in the collective memory of every human being, when people lived comfortably in unison with nature. Drinking from pristine streams, pollution: none, and really appreciating our surroundings.

A red light; I’m at an intersection. Meh, I’ll cross anyway.
No, legs, you keep going. However that train of thought has no substantiated basis. While humankind certainly did have a deeper connection to nature in the lost days of yore, things never came to us that easily. Of course, it’s all perspective. But people didn’t just drink out of any old stream- the smart ones, anyway. That’s what beer was for. Fermentation kills germs. Chem 101. If you drank the water, you got sick. Died. And polluting none? We polluted everything all the time! The concept of waste disposal didn’t really catch on until what, the 1800s? Before that the whole family pissed and shit in a bucket which was then periodically tossed out a window. If you happened to walk under that window at that unfortunate moment, your day got ruined fast. Hell, even the cartoony image of a man slipping on a banana peel has a very real basis: as the import of fruits from tropical regions increased, New Yorkers and other residents of large cities ate bananas, discarding their peels wherever. People actually slipped on these peels enough that a public health campaign was devised to curb the tossing of banana peels on sidewalks. Or so the legend goes.

So goes the legend of any time past. The 50s? Racism, inequality, wife beating, surveillance-nothing new. Yet so many cite that time as a positive moment in American history when things were just right. Why? Because TV broadcast the quintessence of family values and the job market was decent, not to mention the U-S-A vibe after the war.

Ever notice how really old people tell stories about the Depression or World War II with that nostalgic happiness? Smiling, as they recall “me and my six brothers used to have to split one can of soup a day which we had to take the trolley to get.” Or why I’ll talk about jail or heroin addiction and laugh, make light of some of it, even romanticize memories of these days that passed mundanely (on a good day).

Seeing how people tend to fondly recall negative situations that they actually experienced, one can see how positively-referenced periods of time that no one was alive for can feed the imaginations of even the dullest men.
Then the powerlines, in theory, serve a good purpose! No longer must a man toil for hours with sticks simply to ignite the feat that is fire. No, we can do that with the press of a button. In our hands. It’s called a lighter. It’s $1.79 at the 711. But we, so modern of men, no longer need to start even fires just to cook our food. There’s a remedy for that, and the remedy is POWER. Gas, oil, and in today’s case, electricity!

Yes, if you need to know why the sky is blue, where wind comes from, and what a 12 year old teenager from halfway around the globe thinks about trap music (he loves it, by the way), you need not assemble a team of learned med from across the countryside nor must you entrust the letter you wrote with a feather dipped in ink to the reliability of your country’s navy. Will they sink the ship carrying that message of immense importance, since a 12 year old New Zealander’s opinion on music is that important to you?

That’s not much of a concern these days. Now, if the WiFi is down for an hour we go ballistic. Have no fear though. Alas, this multitude of powerlines polluting my eyes surely prevents this from happening, these unforgivable lapses in internet access, measured in the macro-units we call minutes.
Traffic comes to a halt.
Come to think of it, internet, cell phones, satellites, GPS,…our most relevant technologies do not require wires. Yet, the devices which have these advanced capabilities still, inevitably, plug into the grid. Still though, couldn’t these phones just use all that energy in the air to charge themselves? Maybe they have that already. But these carcinogenic strings do serve some purpose. Not only do they pump power into the plugs of the three large TVs in that guy’s house, who is at work and not using them, not only do they power our incredibly convenient blenders and coffee grinders and bread slicers; they put energy into those portable post offices, atlases, libraries, clubs, arcades, TVs, and more functions ad infinitum which nobody can live without today that fits in our pocket. The very thought of leaving an iPhone in the car before punching into work induces potentially fatal seizures worse than those from benzo withdrawal, delirium tremens in extremis, in about half the population.

In a way, things that only work when plugged in every so often work to our advantage. In a world where the NSA and CIA, FBI, and probably dozens of other 3-letter abbreviations listen in to our lives via smart TVs, smartwatches, smart phones (if the device is intelligent, they’re using it to gain intel), then the ability to yank a cord out of an outlet and let the battery drain comes in handy. Imagine, a fleet of self-charging computers that observe the activities of the entire human race in order to CRUSH.KILL.DESTROY. I’d pay to see that movie if it didn’t pose a realistic threat of nightmare-spawning proportions. On Netflix I might watch it. I’ll leave the light on while I watch it though, courtesy of

Full circle back to none other than the powerlines. A necessary ugly. Yet their source need not be. Godforbid I go turn into an environmental activist though. If everyone rose up at once, we’d change the institutions. FAST. It’s not like we don’t have the technology to harness energy from things that are there anyway, right out in the open. Hello, the sun. And the wind. Whatever wind actually is. Luckily you can find out where it comes from by going on your smart device. It may get you triangulated and knocked off by a squad of machines that then go robo-rape your daughter, but it cuts the time of calling in a crack team of scholars down to a fraction.

We all know alternative energy is a very realistic option. Otherwise, it’d be called theoretical energy, or mythical energy, romanticized just as much as the unknown past. Here’s the thing. You know it, I know it, and that 12 year old kid from New Zealand knows it too. Energy companies control this planet the way that Nature used to. Nature is still the majority shareholder of Earth Inc., but energy giants own a sizable portion of its stock. They don’t even try to hide it, either. Propping up the Shah in Iran, the Bush-Halliburton thing. And now the Secretary of the State Department previously held the title CEO of Exxon-Mobil. What’s Exxon-Mobil? Oh yeah, just the largest energy company, and one of the largest companies in general, on the face of the earth! It goes deeper than the face though.
One by one, in a revolving door, citizens with one-twelfth of a brain or more realize this, wanting to do something, but not knowing how. You pop up with environmental questions and get shot down immediately. Picture a thousand wild boars, feasting on the carcasses of other pigs. They eat and they eat and they eat, gorging themselves until one realizes “fuck, I recognize that hoof. I’m eating my brother!” Just as he pops his head up in horror, the hunter puts a bullet in the boar’s head from a mile away. The hunter anticipated this at first, then expected it, and now, he just waits with his rifle cocked for the pigs to rise, one by one, as they discover that they’re cannibals. Then they become food for the ignorant consumers left there to fatten up.

In the same way environmentalists or anyone with “far-out” ideas get flagged. ‘Back then’ the FBI had to get off their asses to find people that believe this or that to monitor them, and from there they watch people-mostly innocent and, let’s face it, politically and socially inert-after which they continue to investigate a very minute number of those people who turn out to be suspicious in any shape or form. Usually zero. Today, if you like something on Facebook, the “Go Green” page or whatever, that gets you logged. Remember when you used to just type in what you like on FB? Now those likes are linked to specific pages, tags and labels to create categories of people. How do you think companies like Facebook, Yahoo, or Google make their money? Not from ads. They don’t surpass Exxon in net worth just selling a couple ads. Nice try, selective ears of the media. Too clogged with cash to hear the truth. What those companies sell, much more valuable, is YOU. Everything about you that they can gather by your online doings.
But that’s a different story. And like every story, it’s multifaceted.

Just remember that you’re being traced at every digital corner by forces at work to quite literally keep the lights on, to empower the powerlines, and also to ensure that they remain powered by the sources which allow a few guys to get really rich for as long as possible. I like the internet, and keypads to type documents like this fine one; yes. I am happy that I have a lamp. One that works, at that! Ergo I accept the obstruction of the bright blue sky, begrudgingly, patiently awaiting an alternative that does not kill the buzz on this unseasonably warm April day (perhaps unseasonably warm courtesy of the powerlines).
That, at the very least.

The Only Thing That Doesn’t Change Is Change

“The Only Thing That Doesn’t Change Is Change”

written: 20/04/2017

I’d like to say that things remain the same, forever bound in its youthful pose. Even the ugly facets of the Universe would emanate the utmost beauty, for it could not aspire to anything different. Est ergo est. However, our Reality incorporates more dimensions than three. Items alter themselves by the very fact of their existence. If it moves rapidly, it may outrun the inevitable deterioration for a period but none can hide forever from the inescapable truth: waves wash away sand-castles. Empires crumble. Water evaporates, leaving behind a desolate bed of salt and dead sea creatures. The Sun explodes; stars implode. Supernovas come as nothing new. And in between everything, in between the most tightly knit aspects of Essence, in between each atom and in between each sub-atomic particle, a vast and empty space separates matter. Our very cores float as puppets of Gravity in this dungeon of isolation, trapped and increasingly chained together as the Big Bang continues its unmoving outward stretch. Time cannot stop until it begins in all places. The effortless enemy of Reality exposes itself as the fable called Truth. Scintillating particles have no choice but to yield as just one string. As Freedom questions itself, it becomes trapped upon a turtle upon a turtle. Chaos might prevail if not for its name implying that Order had once been present. In all this randomness, I can discern just one constant:

the only thing that doesn’t change is change.