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Friday, July 31, 2015

Poor Jason

Kym and I are on a taper.  She freaked out after missing her period.  After a visit to the doctor, Kym has come to the glum conclusion she parties too much.  So after Happy Hour cocktails at Vesuvio's, we solemnly swear to scale back. the best of our abilities.

Right away we bend the rules.  Like the sweaty, crushing pain of Tuesday is beyond awful.  So we create a holiday.  Try Again Tuesday.  So we each smoke a dot of tar.  Just a taste. But we pass these back and forth with deep kisses. After two days with no H it feels so gooooooood.  Probably too good.  We limp off into the week.

"You're dosing yeah?" says Kym nodding her head in slow motion and smearing her huge blue eyes across my field of vision.  Tropical blue eyes.  So deep.  So blue.  I am prisoner to their Light.

"Yes Kym.  Yes I am" I hear myself respond robotically.

"I can tell babe because you get a little crazy with those eyes.  Like a spider studying a moth" she says as she widens her blues.

I want to say something but Kym’s eyes are her own.  She does not understand the power they command over a soul like mine.  Then Kym gets up and disappears down the hall.  So I go back to Cheers.  This show soothes me.  I watched it growing up.  The TV sounds are a comforting presence, like a familiar relative.

Kym launches into the room, diving sideways through the air.  Her hands plant on the floor and she cartwheels past the TV and vanishes into the kitchen.

I look around wildly but all is quiet.  Did that just happen?  I refuse to get up and check.  Most likely, Kym will jump out, scream and tickle me.  So back to Cheers.  Heck, maybe it didn't happen...

And Kym appears.  She moves solemnly across the room.  Upside down.  On her hands.  Holy shit.

"Holy shit!" I utter in astonishment.

Kym does a forward roll from the hallway and pops up with straight legs crossed, chest puffed out and arms spread out dramatically.  I stare.  LSD stare.  Wow.

Her face is frozen in a performance mask.  Eyes wide open, lips slightly parted in a professional smile.  Her eyes stay focused on something 1000 yards away and her lips barely move as she speaks, "I was in gymnastics until I was fifteen.  Then I realized I was too tall and gangly.  Plus these threw me off balance" she says grabbing her breasts.

And I keep staring.  I have no idea what's going on.  Then Kym sits next to me and casually slings her arm around my neck.  She pulls my face close.  Touches my forehead to hers.

"Ok space-boy.  So acid is fine, weed is good.  What about ecstasy?"

I think about it.  Hmm.

"Ecstasy is OK.  But no cocaine" I decree.

"Agreed" says Kym.  "And obviously no speed!  Yuck!  Ok.  What about oxy..?"

I know for a fact Kym is on oxy because Ari, our dealer told me Kym's order is ready.

"I don't know Kym..." and then I think how shitty coming off acid is without oxy.  "Maybe a little?"

"Agreed!" grins Kym sticking out her hand to shake.  "So no cocaine or heroin.  Emergency snorts of H are OK if both parties agree like last Tuesday.  And no needles.  Snort or smoke only.  Good?"

"Good" I shake her hand.

Jason walks in and sits in the floor.  He pulls out a cigarette from Kym's pack on the table, lights it and squints up at us through the smoke.  "I heard that and I want in.  BUT!  But I am not going a little in.  I am ALL in.  Cold fucking turkey. Right fucking now."

I can see glass biplanes doing loop-de-loops in his cigarette cloud.  His face slides around and his faded Suicidal Tendencies t-shirt boils off his torso.  I peer into Jason’s soul.  He will never fucking make it.

"You will never fucking make it" I declare.

"Babe!" says Kym as she punches me in the arm. "What a dick thing to say!"

"It's ok Kym.  Our hippie friend here is on LSD and thinks he is a wiser than everyone.  He always says stupid shit like 'WE ARE the Universal Light!' or 'Hey Jase! I figured out time man!'  Fuck him.  Stupid hippy!" says Jason pointing his cigarette at me.

And I smile at him because I know which one of us is sane.  But he is right about the bold declarations.

"Well we're not quitting" I calmly tell Jason as I get lost in his eyes for a second.  I swear his left pupil has a tiny doorknob in it...

"Yeah" says Kym.  "We're scaling back.  Huge difference Jase.  So are you cutting yourself out of the life...?"

We all know what she means.  Jason gets us drugs.  If he quits the life we lose a major and frankly, super convenient drug source.

Jason looks at us, enjoying the question hanging in the air.  He knows we are twitching and squirming and fretting over the thing we love so much...

"Well, I have a good thing going right now.  Solid connects, guaranteed income from the Warfield...Yeah.  Fuck getting a real job" he says as he exhales smoke.

My stomach flutters back down to my gut.  Tension evaporates and Kym melts against my side.  Whew.

"Let's celebrate our wisdom with some marijuana and chocolate" says Jason removing a blunt from behind his ear.  He lights it and tosses a golden box on the table.

LSD makes this golden box quite mesmerizing.  Like a reward for discovering the hidden room behind the plain stone wall in a Zelda game.  I open the ribbon which shimmers like the blue and gold fin of a sea dragon.  It glows.  It beckons.  I open it.  Rainbow eggs from psychedelic parrots and other mystical, magical creatures lay nestled inside the box.  Geometric shaped chocolates decorated with spirals of poetry written by Nereids in golden ink.


Kym and Jason look at me, look at each other and then smirk.  The halos coming off these amazing chocolates is intense.  Celestial turtle and dragon eggs.
"They are like jewels" I breathe in awe. "Like the eggs from the Sultan's golden partridge..."

"Dude it's Godiva chocolate from my dad.  James is in Belgium with his new family" says Jason grabbing a rainbow hued oval and chomping it.

"Yeah babe.  Godiva.  Haven't you tried?" asks Kym.

"Nope."  I try and think of fancy candy but only the stuff you can get at Longs Drugs pops in my head.  Russell Stover.  Cadbury.

I try one.  A triangular dark chocolate.  Fuck...They are right.  Amazing.  Sadly I did not know what chocolate was until this moment.  I want to go to Europe so bad.  Jason and Kym both have spent summers traveling in Europe.  They drop into French, German and Spanish to describe things they experienced.  This is why I go to college.  I want to be able to have these experiences.  I almost feel ashamed about the Sour Patch Kids I have in my pocket but man these taste really good when your body heat softens the package.  

As withdrawals rear their nastiness, I take more psychedelics.  I start eating more mushrooms and get into peyote and mescaline.  Kym starts running through the park.  Not jogging but running.  She sprints like a fucking deer over the hills and then slows down to an even pace for a bit and then sprints off again.  I thought of exercising with her but fuck that.  Jason starts lifting weights.  He is a pretty solid guy and was into lifting before I met him.  Now he works out like a madman.  Kym borrows his smaller free weights and aerobicises with them.

I smoke pot and watch Dragon Ball cartoons.  Fucking Goku is a trip on shrooms.  

When Kym and I enjoy our treats like snorting oxycodone Jason becomes such a pain in the ass we hide.  We last three long days without H but Kym gets yelled at by her boss for leaving on an espresso machine.  Damn thing overheats and burns out a circuit.  Canon Cafe is hyper busy during commute times in Union Square and without the machine, Kym and her coworkers suffer.  She gets a lot of shit.  So we tear off some foil, grab the glass straw and we each kiss the dragon. One tiny puff each...Fuuuck so good. We both want more and Kym is playing with the straw and staring at the bag. But no. Instead we smuggle a ton of candy into the movie theater and watch Air Force One.  

"You guys are fucking weak" says Jason who doesn't appear to be suffering as much as I thought.  His arms are healed and he has started eating more.  Unfortunately he is also becoming a jerk.  More so than usual.

"Lift weights.  You'll never make it watching cartoons, playing video games and doing stupid hippy shit."

"Oh puh-lease!" says Kym, "Like you aren't sneaking in a hit or two.  When you got us that gram I noticed a little bit seemed to have been scraped out.  Like a tiny streak on the side.  Enough for a tiny hit."

"No way Devil's Daughter.  You're just junkie paranoid and if you two go through grams this fast you are no longer tapering. Dealer knows all" chuckles Jason as he mixes kale into his protein shake and hits the blender.

"Go fuck yourself Jason!" snarls Kym as she stomps down the hall.

I look at Jason.  He catches my eye for a moment, looks away and smiles.  He was serene last night during X-Files...Kinda less obnoxious.  But I smile back and go do my homework.

Next day I look out and see a windy and cold morning staring back at me.  I'm supposed to meet Melo at Dolores Park.  He gets clean acid from the Deadheads camping in Golden Gate Park.  Kym went earlier to run and workout so I grab her jacket and walk to Dolores.  Bay winds cut so cold when you are in withdrawals.  Even numbed with oxy, I get the shakes.  I spot Kym running along the path in her black Nike jogging suit.  She shoots by me, waves and keeps going.  I sit on a bench, smoke cigarettes and wait for her to come back around.  She slows down as reaches me.  Her flushed face, the sound of her panting and the scent from her warm skin when I kiss her is exhilarating.

"Eww babe I'm all sweaty!" she complains pushing me away.

"No.  You smell good.  I smell like Doritos and cigarettes."

" do" she says pointedly as she begins to stretch her legs.

I hand her the leather jacket which she drapes over herself to keep off the wind.  We see Melo and Dev walking towards us.  They both have huge grins on their faces and keep stopping to look up at the trees.  Dev is pointing at something but Melo is just laughing so Dev stomps off.

"Heeeey guys" she smiles.  Red pixie face and HUGE pupils.

"Hola Devika.  You look merry today" smirks Kym.

Melo wanders up giggling.  I can't wait to try this acid.  They are Woodstocks. Like Snoopy's little yellow bird friend.  Even Ari, my chemist friend praises the purity.

"Fucking helicopter humming bird and shit!" laughs Melo.  We all watch him as he gasps to catch his breath.

"Oh ignore him" says Dev but she giggles too and appears to be scanning the skies for something.

We walk back and stop and get water and smokes at Baymart.  Dev and Melo are arguing about a mythical bird.  But neither will tell me what they are talking about.  They just giggle.

"So Lover, Kym says you guys barely use" smiles Dev as she hugs my arm.  "Good for you!"

"Yeah" smiles Melo, "like no coke or H.  That's good dude!  Real good for your health.  Clear your mind..."

"Well" I admit, "we do cheat a little.  But it's been like three days.  Almost four."

"Better than Jason" says Dev.

"WHAT?!" demands Kym.

"All three of us smoked last night in the tent" shrugs Melo.  "Says he's off the needle though.  Good for him.  Good for all of you guys.  Respect."

"That little shit!" yells Kym.

We get home and Jason is watching a football game.  Kym sits on the floor and stares at him.  Melo and Dev snicker and I go get their money.  I buy five hits for $20.  And Kym stares.  Jason ignores.  And Kym stares.

"What?!  What is it now?!" he explodes.

"Oh nothing" smiles Kym. "I'm just admiring your guns dude.  Been working out huh?  Straight edge!" mocks Kym flexing her arms.

"What the fuck is this?" asks Jason looking around.

I take some acid.

"Just admiring your self control Jason.  How awesome you are to quit cold turkey while we suffer and chip away like needy junkies.  But you oh you are such the specimen of perfection!"

Jason rubs his face.  "Ok.  So what?  I lapsed.  Big deal."

"It wouldn't be a big deal except you're such a PRICK about it!  How weak we are!  I just find the irony delicious!" scoffs Kym lighting a smoke.

"Yeah?  Well if the stress level in my apartment wasn't tweaked up by someone's suffocating personality I would have a lot easier time quitting!  And living for that matter!  Ne joue pas avec moi !" spits out Jason.

"Oh ? Et qui accuses-tu ?" says Kym standing up with her hands on her hips.  

Jason and Kym both took French in school and have traveled through France.  I have heard them talk in French before but never scream in it.

"Tu te crois maline, hein ?" yells Jason pointing at Kym.

Kym smiles and calmly says, "Hé bien moi au moins je n'agis pas comme une idiote en permanence !"

Jason gets up and yells, "Non, tu es cinglée ! Fille du démon !"  

"Moi?" mocks Kym standing up and spreading both her arms, "You're the crazy one!  Pretending your clean and better than us!  Faker!  Fraud!"

"Fuck!  You're such a fucking...fuck! Grahhh!" bellows Jason incoherently as he storms out the front door.

"Whoa" says Dev nodding her head.

I sit next to Dev on the floor chewing the acid blotter paper.  The paper taste triggers my mouth  to water as my body starts anticipating the trip.  I look at Dev.  Her eyes are so far away it's like looking into portals to the spirit world.

"Did you understand any of that?" I ask Dev.

"Yeah.  Totally.  Khadja is picking on Jason because he lied to her.  Rather than just letting it go she crushed his dignity.  It was kinda mean."

“You understand French?”

“No.  Is that what they were speaking?” asks Dev.

"Oh c'mon Devika!  Jason picks on me all the time!" huffs Kym lighting a smoke and sitting on the floor across from us.

Melo blinks and comes back to us from his trance. "Man.  That was crazy.  What just happened?  Hey you guys got any weed?" he asks looking around.

"Besides" smiles Kym, "he'll be back soon."

"Really?" asks Dev.  Her odd, mechanical doll's voice sounds so distant.  "How do you know that?"

"Because I went into his room and stole his smack" says Kym.  "I did it as a joke to prove a point but now I think I'll let him suffer a little."  

I look at her.  Knowing Jason, it will kill him to ask Kym for anything.  But if he doesn't say anything, she won't either.  Maybe I'll steal it back for him.  Kym meets my look defiantly.  She doesn't give a shit either way now that she has made her point.  She tilts her to the side and exhales a huge plume of smoke into the air.  I watch it swirl and tumble across the space like pure madness.     

Poor Jason.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Visiting Gloom

An alarm wakes me.  I hear Kym cursing loudly and the clock is violently subdued with several angry SMACKS!  Long slender arms slide around my torso, wrap like climbing ivy around my back as she nuzzles into me.  Her sleepy face is shoved into my neck for a blissful moment as she inhales my scent and then I inhale her sigh.  My lips are kissed.  Once, twice and three times.  Always three with Kym.  Three squeezes when we hold hands and three kisses Hello or Goodbye.  She pushes herself up and groans under the weight of last night's pharmaceutical activities.  

It is 4:15 am.  Morning shift begins for Kym Amiri at the Canon Cafe located in Union Square.

The door to our room is cracked open.  I hear Kym yawn loudly as she walks to the kitchen to make toast for the peanut butter and honey sandwich she takes for her BART commute breakfast.  Then she stumbles to the bathroom and SLAMS the door.  Light from the kitchen pours down the hall.  It outlines the shape of our bedroom door.  The door won't close because Kym's blanket is hanging over it.  The blending shadows create the illusion of a large, door-sized mola mola fish peering into our room.  I stare at it.  It stares back as if trying to decide whether or not to swim in.

The blanket is drying on the door because of the beautiful, dumb luck of the Universe.  Or perhaps the glorious, well orchestrated plan of the Universe.  Your call.  But three nights ago, I stumbled into the apartment after a late night drinking session with Jason.  An urgent beeping sound greeted us.  The kitchen smoke detector.  Kym was nodded out under a blanket on the couch.  She was surrounded by pieces of torn foil, an ashtray, a pack of smokes and her lighter.  A lit cigarette was smoldering on the blanket and a foul, burning plastic stench filled the air.  I yelled something, Jason yelled something and I yanked the blanket off her.  Underneath was Kym.  Buck naked.  So Jason stood there gaping like a cod fish while I stamped on the smoking blanket while bellowing like a madman.  We poured beer from the leftover bottles on the table and it sputtered out.  Kym never bothered to wake up so I threw my jacket over her and ripped the batteries out from the smoke detector.  

Naturally it was her favorite blanket.  Something about the perfect soft texture and appropriate aging needed to create an unmatched Kym was upset about the beer.  

"Better than burning to death like a dumb, fucking junkie" remarks Jason helpfully.

The blanket is laundered a few times in an attempt to get rid of the burnt stench.  On the last wash, Kym didn't dry it long enough.  So now it hangs on the door and morphs into: The Mola Mola.

I close my eyes and feel myself drift away.  Sleep...

Last night we met Dev and Melo at Dunkin' Donuts to score some gel tabs for me and ecstasy for Kym.  Inside the pink walls of the donut chain, a delicious smell of fresh cooked pastries creates a cozy oasis on a cold San Francisco night.  We find a booth and make the deal.  Dev's hair has a few more ropey dreadlocks in it since the last time I saw her.  An autumn leaf is tangled in one.  Her faded, stained poncho is actually Melo's.  She wears it long like a robe and stands inside the folds like a psychedelic nun.  Sweat pants layered with black leggings keep her legs warm.  As usual, no shoes.  Just two silver toe rings on her street stained feet.  Melo wears a green, North Face parka he found in a dumpster.  The blood stain on the side doesn't bother him.  Curls of greasy, black hair sprout beneath the upturned bill of his Suicidal Tendencies hat.  Melo's alert brown eyes constantly move around the room.  

Kym and I paint a different picture from our friends.  A picture of sheltered, privileged kids.  Freshly laundered clothing and continuous access to water, electricity and cable TV.  Our friends walked over from the park where they squat in a tent.  We took a taxi from the movie theater where we watched Twister.  

The nights are getting cold so I wear a gray sweat jacket under my black leather for insulation.  The wind cuts through my jeans so it feels like my legs are naked when it hits.  I need two pairs of socks in my boots to keep warm.  My hood covers my freshly shaved mohawk to ward off the chilly bay wind.  

Kym sits in the booth next to Dev puffing on a cigarette.  A puffy, black jacket with tiny brass locks hanging from it covers up her Bauhaus t-shirt she cut into a tight, form fitting crop shirt.  Jean shorts and fishnet tights cover her legs and one of her boots is rudely propped up on the table.  Her shoulder length, apple red hair looks street punk wild.  Like she electrocuted herself or stuck her head out the window of a car going 90 mph down Folsom street.  But as the guy who had wait an hour to get into the bathroom, I know this haphazard hair is actually a carefully designed project.  Bold eyeliner accentuates her wide blue eyes as she watches me count my tiny gel tabs.  The black eye she got from the mosh pit at the Rancid show is still very visible.  When she got elbowed at the Gilman I showered her with pity and affection.  Kym doesn't like pity.  She prefers to scowl at the world through her swollen eye rather than admit it hurts.  

On Kym, a black eye looks insolent, rude and sexy.  Fuck the world and fuck you too!  I love it when she winks at me with it.

"I'm gonna go check it out.  I don't know what I want to eat" muses Kym. "Babe what do you want?  I'm buying."

"Uhmmm...two vanilla old fashioned, please."

"That's so you!" mocks Kym stabbing out her smoke in the ashtray.

"Yeah?  What are you getting?  Chocolate twisted?"  

"Hah!  And I fuck this guy!" laughs Kym pointing her thumb at me as she walks off with Melo to check out the donut selection.

Dev stares at my face.  I am used to this.  In the city where no one makes eye contact, Dev stands out like a giant though she is barely five feet tall.  Dev makes eerie, direct eye contact with everyone she speaks to.  It takes some getting used to in a place like San Francisco.  Here, you can feel totally alone in a BART station as one thousand people move by like a wall of schooling fish one city block long.  Their voices bounce off the tiled walls of the station.  Words not for you.  You stare at them as they swim by without acknowledging your humanity.  

Dev absent-mindedly traces her finger across her tag: DevL.  It is carved onto every other table in this Dunkin Donuts.  If you make a top view map of Dev's tagged tables and connect them it forms an oval.  In her mind, this place is secured from the evil she protects the city from.    

"Been dreaming of me Lover?" she questions me seriously.

Dev is spooky for so many reasons.  This is definitely one of them.  I DID dream of her.  In this dream I was talking to her about dreaming and what it all meant.  She tried to tell me but the edge of the night melted away leaving me with only morning light.  I awoke as Kym nestled into me and the alarm clock screamed AWAKE!  

The business of the day intrudes upon the realm of dreams.

"Ok" I say lighting a cigarette.  "Why do you THINK you know that?"

"Know?  I was there.  Don't you remember me in your dream?" she asks in her creepy, deadpan little girl voice.

I sigh and exhale smoke.  Reality is such an overused concept.  In my reality, I have Kym to be loved, school to be finished and my dreams are nothing but dreams.  Now it intersects with Dev's reality.  A place where walking across the thread of her night's sleeping into my dreams is completely normal.

"Nope", I lie.

She smirks, reaches out and plucks the cigarette from my hand.  She smokes it slowly, watching me.  Dev doesn't give it back, so I light another.

"Alright Dev.  Why?" I ask spreading my arms out before I lean back and try to look relaxed.

"I'll tell you Lover.  But only i-f  y-o-u  s-a-w  m-e...", she singsongs the last phrase like a childhood nursery rhyme.

"Ok!  Maybe you were in a dream.  But I don't remember dreams Dev!  Too much pot...or smack or something!"

"Good" smiles Dev.  "I wanted to talk to you, but you left.  I wanted to tell you the dead can come to you in dreams.  They might visit you in places with shadows.  You'll never see them Lover, but you will know they are there if you pay attention."

My skin crawls as I watch her smoke my cigarette and talk.  Spooky girl.  I feel very, very cold like a shadow just winged over me.  I was thinking of someone.  I was thinking of Shea.  I was thinking of her funeral that we attended in Santa Cruz.  The open casket contained a doll that was not her...and the clothes picked out by her parents were wrong.  

Not Shea.  No way man.

Kym dumps a bag of donuts in front of me and a cup of coffee as she plops down.

"What the fuck babe?  You look like shit."

I watch the mola mola and listen to Kym get ready.  She plays David Bowie as she showers.  It's just loud enough to hear the the wail of the guitar from the song Heroes.  The sound blends mystically with the rhythm of the water.  I can't hear Bowie sing but his words come to me easily in the Darkness.  My body aches and my nose is a little runny.  I might be experiencing a slight withdrawal.  These comes to me more and more these days.  But I tell myself it's just a hangover.  A moth flutters in the crack of the door light.  It skitters past the mola mola.  I can't tell if it just flew into the room or left.  I watch the crack of light a moment longer and then flip over.  

Will the mola mola come inside if I'm not looking?  I hope so.

Shea.  We were so young when we discovered each other.  Flirting with me at thirteen in the arcade.  Aladdin's Castle at the mall.  Friends in high school but never closer than that kiss you gave me for beating you in a game of clear in my mind right now.  You standing on my Vans, tip toeing up and planting one on my surprised lips.  We knew each other in the social circles of high school and once or twice afterwards in college.  It's not fair.  You died at 19.  Time stopped for you.  We have already move six months past you.  Soon it will be years Shea.  And you?  The light and laughter you brought to the room is muted beneath the weight of six feet of cold dirt and a harsh, fucking reality.  

It's not fair.

You should have moved out to the city.  You were smart.  You tutored me in sophomore geometry.  Remember me Shea?  The tall kid you called Stork.  The kid you shared your Walkman headphones with in detention?  I can see our heads pressed close so we could listen to The Damned tape you swiped from your brother.

Poor Shea.  I hope you felt nothing.  I hope you saw nothing.  I hope your life clicked off like a light switch.  I hope that fucker that was driving burns forever in this Hell he has created.  And if I ever see him in the city...

You should have have moved here Shea.  It's your scene.  You could have done so much more.  Fuck, I can't believe you're gone...I can still see you and hear you in my head.  Your light is so bright...Fuck.  I mean, it WAS so bright.  The mischievous smile you wore.  Like you knew something funny no one else knew.  Loved that look.  And your dark, flashing eyes, so full of life...

I feel Kym moving onto the bed.  I lay there pretending to sleep. I'm exhausted pouring my heart out to someone I knew oh so long ago...Misery so vivid I can taste it like tears.  The sorrow of a young life extinguished.  So deep, so black it rips me open and bares my soul to the cold starlight of the Universe.  I want Kym to hold me but I'm too miserable to make words.  So I lay there.  She shifts around.  I can feel the futon give under her weight as she crawls forward.  She is approaching my head.  I can feel her looking over me.  Maybe to see if I am asleep?  Maybe to kiss me?  But then it stops.  There is a heavy, stillness in the air.  I realize I can still hear the shower and the music.  
Curious, I roll over and look.  Nothing.  I am alone in my bed.

Only the mola mola stares back.