The door swings open and I watch. I know I am dreaming but my body is prisoner to this vision. The outline of a doorway lit with electric blue fire shimmers in my stare. She appears in the crackling light as if expected and stands there, looking in. Oh I knew who it is. I can smell myrrh and wildflowers. Elegantly tall with a striking posture like a statue of a Greek goddess. From her silhouette, I see the outline of her jacket. I hear the leather creaking and the metallic jangle from all the buckles, chains and locks. Her boots make a distinct soft clomp across the wooden floor. She always steps lightly when she moves. Her black leggings outline such long, beautiful legs. Held together, you can see through the gap in her thighs.
And she stands in the door of blue flames. Looking at me.
I can't speak. She slowly and softly walks through the door to me. Boots across the wooden floor. Closer and closer.
"What happened?" she asks softly.
I want to say it has been six years. Six horrible years but nothing comes out. I'm paralyzed. A prisoner to this vision.
"Are you sick? You look like...Fuck. You like shit babe. All puffy, old and fucked up."
This one was never did mince words. Shadows cover her face and all I can see is her hair is blond and in one of her wild, dandelion hairdos. She takes another step.
And I wake up.
The bedroom door is shut and not glowing. Snoring incredibly loud and sprawled out nude besides me is my coworker Sera. Then the alarm goes off and suddenly Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over" softly fills the room. Sundays are Sera's days to poke around garage sales and flea markets. She likes an early start. The song washes over me as my body slowly returns to the world.
After college, time passes like water through sand. All my dreams crumble as the water rises. Hope slowly washes away with the tide. Lady Nyx approaches and she drags the her grinning moon behind her.
Sera and I look like this. Unsexy, unhealthy, splotchy faced 20somethings. Sustained on cable TV, drugs, liquor and unhealthy foods we could be 30 or 40. No one would question it. We age with poor health, poor attitudes and blind visions of the future. Sure we have our dreams but we no longer nurture them. Neglected flowers smothered by weeds in a desolate garden. Sera is the actress who never acts. I am the dreamer who no longer sleeps.
"Meeaah" groans Sera throwing an arm over me to initiate cuddling.
I stare impassively at my white apartment ceiling. A void. Sera's arm slides over my torso and lingers but I am stone. An unmoving, insentient thing.
"No more drinkey whiskey! Bleahh!" she yawns rubbing her oily face.
Just saw the Gargoyle yet I'm already light on roxys. Last night I chose the blue pills over banging heroin. A wise decision considering the clock informed me the world existed at 3:22 am. The movies Sera brought over have already travelled through my eyes and into my brain where the meaning dissolved indifferently in a sea of opiate abuse and alcoholism. I contemplated a needle cook but railed a few comet trails of my girl roxy instead. Then I washed a couple pills down with whiskey and chain smoked cigarettes until the opiate rain went from a drizzle to a downpour across my soul.
And everything was ok.
At least I knew I wasn't going to scream when I laid back down next to Sera. The sound that emanates from sleeping beauty is a deep and immense buzzsaw snore that I can feel in my bones. Great Ganesh, I bet the Indian family next door thinks that's me.
From my curtained windows I feel another gray, Fall day. I am not high nor am I feeling any withdrawal. My mind is rational. Sober. So naturally, I begin to freak out. Suddenly everything is falling down. I suck oxygen in a panic as the illusions crumble.
Bank accounts are overdrawn and four maxed out credit cards. I hate clarity for I can feel my world burning around me. Any day I could be fired from my job and it will be hard to act surprised. I feel panic like water rising past my chest towards my neck in this prison cell. My heart thumps grotesquely as I sweat and freak the fuck out...but then I remember. The Door.
Under this very bed is my safe. Inside with my needles, pills and smears of heroin is the key to the Door. A .357 snub nose revolver. I can always wait until Sera leaves to go poke around garage sales and kill myself. I can feel the weight of the gun in my hands. The weight of my world. It's like looking through a window. Thoughts suicide are like smiles from a long, lost friend. I sit up and light a cigarette.
"Hey! How many scoops again?" asks Sera.
The coffee maker is a new habit for her like alcoholism or smoking my cigarettes. She happily follows me down these noble paths yet ignores her legal opiates in favor of her illegal marijuana. But she still gives me her pills which is lovely. The morphine and hydrocodone from her old neck and spine injuries are part of my diet. Sera will even go into her doctor's office and lie for me. I have been coaching her. We are moving up the prescription opiates ladder towards the good stuff.
"Nine scoops coffee and eight cups of water" I answer.
"Wait" said Sera dipping a curly fry in mayonnaise as I smoke and politely blow it off to the side. "Like say I can't sleep?"
We're at the bowling alley. I just bought six roxies from the Gargoyle for $150. I came with $500 cash but it was all he had. Annoyed, I was ready to leave but Sera wanted to go bowling. After a game, we ate club sandwiches and split a huge order of curly fries.
"Nah. Just say you're tired but let him ask why."
Sera already has pills from the benzodiazepine family and and an open prescription for tramadol. But to get the good shit from a cautious doctor, one must play the game. And I know the fucking game.
"Alright" shrugged Sera indifferently as she finished her Diet Coke.
"So now say your back keeps you awake. Mention it affects your lifestyle. Like work or your social life. You know, like exercising or the theater group."
"Yeah, yeah I got it" smiled Sera.
Sera's spine is actually fine with her yoga class and marijuana. All pills mean to Sera is another excuse to come over. She knows I'll be home for the pills. I keep telling her I don't care when she comes over. Hell, she has a key. But Sera likes her reasons. Pills, dinners, movies. It's all the same to me.
But mostly pills.
Now the apartment smells like fresh coffee. Laying here in the euphoria of oxycodone, I am happy. In the bathroom I railed a roxy and swallowed her sister. The ol' one-two punch. The snort makes the morning kinder and I relax knowing the other pill dissolves in my body. The first high of the day is the best. I join Sera for a bong hit on the couch. She leans against me as she fires up. I stare at her luminous purple eyes which are magnified behind her eyeglasses. In the reflection, a dancing lighter flame aligns perfectly within her violet irises to replace her pupils. Magic. And I feel happiness. The opiate buzz makes me human for this moment.
Sera catches me staring and smiles. Why do we click I wonder? I love her friendship and I love her happiness. But I know Sera's love for me is the deeper, hurting variety of love. And I am not that person. This makes me feel guilty because I really enjoy the idea of putting a bullet in my brain after she leaves. No more fears about tomorrow.
"Mmm I'm starving!" Sera says loading me a bong hit. "I brought over some apple smoked bacon. Want some bacon and eggs?"
Sera rubs my arm as I take a bong hit and I exhale with a sigh. The head rush is like a train screaming by inches from my face. I notice a new hickey on my inner thigh and agree. Food sounds wonderful. Sera can cook and eagerly does so when she is stoned which is pretty much all the time. Often I'm too strung out to care but Sera has figured out what I eat. Mostly sandwiches, pancakes and cookies.
She puts on her god awful Crash Worship CD and fries bacon. I watch her movements and feel her simple, everyday bliss. How do people get like that? She see's a different world than I. Thoughts of my gun make me feel guilty as she hums and cracks pepper over sputtering strips of bacon. It is strange to have someone actually care about me. No matter how fucked up I am, she always comes back with a smile, hug or peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips. A Pepsi with a lot of ice. Sour patch kids. Sex.
And I am an evil thing. I linger too long in the Darkness. But I am also high and the poppy smothers cruel intentions. I sit with Sera, thank her for giving me the unbroken fried egg and watch her pour me a coffee with honey just the way I like it. Later I fuck her a couple of times and my orgasms feels like a soundless scream in an endless void. Every time I come, I experience a moment of clarity and think about the gun.
Sera decides not to go out. Too lazy to look for treasure is how she puts it. We catch up on missed Sopranos episodes and then take a nap. For lunch, Sera makes turkey, avocado, bacon, lettuce, tomato and red onion sandwiches on sourdough bread. We laze on the couch all afternoon staring at TV and completely indifferent to the passing day. Later Sera barbecues chicken and talks to the Indian neighbors because they are all human beings. I lurk behind the curtains and listen. Sera leaves me no opportunity to commit suicide this afternoon so fuck it. I eat her pills, her delicious chicken and snort roxys as another weekend passes.
At work we are preparing to launch a new government funded contract. We have been tasked to overestimate cost and prepare ridiculously expensive scenarios to justify cost. The boss is excited. The little man yells and points at an impossible goal. I clap, guffaw and smile like the other liars as I gulp pills and stare at the clock which tick tocks too slowly.
Sera has some get together with her theater friends after work. I was invited but opted out. So I drive the mall, shoot up some coke in my car and go shop for razors, deodorant and hair gel. I haven't shot coke for years and am enjoying myself immensely as I get a cinnamon bun and a Pepsi with a lot of ice. Looking around the mall I watch the normal folk doing their normal folk routines. They are like another species to me. I am not connected to this tribe. I walk beneath a different moon and sleep beneath alien stars. And I no longer remember the way home.
So much slips through my fingers these days. Opportunities, bills, love and life. The Earth orbits Sol Invictus. It is Autumn. The season of skeletal change. Soon another sidereal year shall spin away into the inky black cosmos. I stare uncomprehendingly at a meaningless life. Like water carving through piles of sand, time never ceases to devour.
I think about death as I eat the cinnamon bun by myself at a table with four chairs. I imagine the mess from a .357 would be a terrible thing to come across. I don't trust myself with drugs, money or responsibility. So putting the gun in my mouth and angling it to shoot through my brain is laughable. I would miss. I am such a fuck up, I know I would miss. Probably shatter teeth, blow off part of my jaw. It would be embarrassing and difficult to dial 911 and explain this to the operator.
So a temple shot. Straight through the organ that makes me human. A couch suicide. Why not? I get high on the couch, I fuck on the couch, I sleep on the couch and watch endless streams of mind numbing crap on the couch. Why not exit on the couch?
Tuesday night. Dining room table covered with misery. Cigarette ash everywhere. Empty beer bottles, a snipped McDonald's straw, my driver's license, a charred spoon, Sera's cinnamon scented candle from the bathroom, a bottle of water, a velcro dog collar spotted with blood, a box of cotton balls and the gun. I am HIGH. Higher than usual which is hard to come by these days. But I have been cooking shots and making speedballs. I have nodded out but the coke yanked me back. Though I shudder, vibrate and feel OH SO FUCKING ALIVE, I am ready. I gotta stop doing so much coke. Let the poppy God escort me through Nyx's veil.
Mycroft the fish will be my witness. Will a fish care? I bet the sound waves from a gun will kick in his lateral line flight from predator design. In other words, the gunshot will scare the fuck out of him. And I love Mycroft. He has held counsel with me in my darkest hours. So I pick up his jar and carry him to the bathroom. I feed him some dried krill. Who knows how long he will be there? Better he have some food in his belly. I know Sera will take him so I leave the krill by his jar. I realize I am still holding the gun so I smile at Mycroft who rises to the top of his Universe to stare at me.
"It's ok" I smile cocking back the hammer. I close the door.
I walk back to the couch and sit in my spot. And the phone rings. Not my cellphone which is off, but the landline. Old childhood habits kick in and I put down the gun, wipe my hands and pick up the phone. I am on autopilot for I was raised by people who answer ringing telephones or knocks at the door.
"Hey!" shrieks Sera. "Your cellphone's dead but I gotta tell you something!"
"My gingerbread Frankenstein Place won first prize at the Rocky Horror Convention! I'm gonna be awarded a prize of like $50 at Blockbusters!"
"Nice" I utter from that far away place heroin takes me to. My body is failing. Like a storm moving down the mountain I can feel the opiate stupor approaching on dark wings.
"You gotta come with me ok? Please! I know you hate that shit but c'mon! PLEASE?"
In fragments, I recall her assembling a castle made from frosting and graham crackers in my kitchen. Many hours and bong hits went into the design and she was so damn proud. It did look cool though. Even my cynical brain had to admit her tiny haunted castle was a work of art.
"C'mon!" she begs. "I'm gonna be Magenta. You should be Eddie! Or Riff!"
"Nah..." I begin but even far away I can hear how cruel it sounds for Sera is so happy and wants to share this happiness. I'm too high to be cruel so I become human for perhaps the second time in this story and say, "I'm more of a Brad Majors these days."
"Yes!" agrees Sera. "You already have gray pants and your hair is already dorky perfect! I can get you glasses from theater and maybe even white shoes! Oh my god this is awesome! Thank you!"
It is 9:43 pm. I put the safety back on the gun and stare at it. The key to the Door will have to wait. I wrap it in my Primus t-shirt and place it back in the safe. I clean up the drug paraphernalia, vomit whiskey into the sink and make myself a peanut butter sandwich. I swallow it down with water for the nutrients. I have not eaten much today and need fuel for tomorrow. The heroin stupor flaps 6 feet above me with my brain in it's claws. Next to the bed is Sera's bong. The bong is packed with a fragrant, fresh green hit of hydroponic marijuana. Propped against the bong is a note in Sera's loopy, girly scrawl:
Hope is a waking dream! - Aristotle.
I stare impassively at my white apartment ceiling. A void.
I nod out.