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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Maybe I Can Control It

Without trying, I have been clean for a month.  Went to Maui and kicked our heroin and cocaine habits.  The pills we brought over helped, but honestly, I never knew places like Maui existed on Earth.  Why don't we all live there?  It blew my fucking mind.  Kym led me by my hand and smiled.  She knows Maui.  Kym guided me to this dream state I might still be locked in...The moth's dream.  Am I still in the hospital after that Santa Cruz crash?  My meat kept alive by robots?  An interesting thought.

Yes, we suffered.  One cannot escape physical withdrawal no matter how many Salty Dogs you swill or Valiums you eat.  But I forgot about heroin.  How many people can say that?  Forgot about heroin?  I love heroin like a twin.  Like a soul.  But in Maui, I knew 
only beauty.  The fiery sunsets, the magical sea and my girlfriend glistening in tiny bikinis beneath a tropical sky.  I forgot about my life.  No one told me we could select this option.  Paradise.

When we got back, I did well in school.  Focused.  I finished strong and brought my GPA back up.  Then came Fall break.  Kym travelled with her family and I went north to my ancestral home.  We spoke on the phone a lot.  We spoke of love and how strong we have grown.  How bright and beautiful everything shines when the Darkness is kept away.  But we never discussed the chains.  The pleasures of city life.  Time passed.  Kym came back first.  I wish I could have been there to taste her smile but I was at my family reunion.  Four days later, I returned to the city of San Francisco.  


"Get out" says Carl illegally parking behind a firetruck, two cop cars and an ambulance.  One of my neighbors is being led away by cops while a crowd gathers.  "And don't leave anything because I'll throw it away."

"Yeah, whatever" I say grabbing my duffel bag, a case of beer and a two quart jug of Wild Turkey.  Book money from mom.  I kick the door shut and tap on the window.  When my brother looks over, I flip him off.


A deathly, cold wind whips trash down the sidewalk past streams of pedestrians on lunch breaks.  The hum of their voices is like 10,000 bees rising from a hive.  It mingles with the grinding gears of Muni buses, the bellow of car horns bouncing off buildings.  The chaos of the city.  I cross the street with a weeping woman who drags a suitcase.  When we get to the other side, I carefully step around a pile of shit with a condom lodged in the swirled point.  A dead pigeon in the gutter stares at eternity.  Bored cops and emergency crews stand beneath gray clouds that slowly bleed across the sky.  I'm back.  I clomp up the stairs and drop my burden.  I fish the key out of my black leather jacket but it gets caught on a spike.  

"Fuck" I grumble yanking it free.  The door pops open.  "Whoa!" I blurt out surprised.  

Jason is in LA and Kym is at work.  I thought I was returning to a peaceful, locked house.  Autumn stands before me.  Red flannel, Blur t-shirt, black tights and weird, elfin boots.  So fucking MTV suburbs.  But this is my tribe.  My culture.  So I nod at her.  Autumn studies me while cracking her gum.  She blows a bubble.  "So..." she says.  The bubble pops.  I wait for her to continue but she just watches.

"Hello.  Autumn."  

I pick up my belongings and alcohol, slide past her look and walk into my house.  A voice cries out, "Welcome to your doom!"  The TV is on.  A werewolf battles a demonic pile of human flesh that throws heads.  An Oasis tape blares over the stereo.  Neither of my roommates are here.  They would never allow it to come to this.  They hate Oasis.    

"Lover!" comes a monotone, wind-up doll voice from the kitchen.

I walk inside, drop my bag and put the beer in the fridge.  
Dev smiles at me from the kitchen table.  A Vietnamese noodle salad is neatly divided in two portions.  The side in front of Dev is vegetable and noodle.  The other side of styrofoam container is chicken and noodle.  A box of wine sits next to a powdered mirror with a rolled up $20 bill and a credit card.  An abandoned game of Uno is scattered across the table.  Next to an overflowing ashtray, are pint glasses full of pink wine.  An SF Weekly is spread out and covered with a collection of glass pipes.  The smell of rubbing alcohol and cigarette smoke fills the kitchen.  Dev's eyes stare at a something 10,000 miles away.  Empty eyes.  Nobody's driving.  Autumn sits in front of the meat and noodles.  Dev blinks and looks at me with a huge smile.

"Give me kissy kiss!" demands Dev.  She stands up and falls back into her chair laughing.  She wobbles over, gets on her tiptoes to grab my shoulders and pulls me close to her face.  She kisses both my cheeks fondly.  "Aww, poor Lover!  You just missed Khadj!  She went to work!"

"What the fuck Dev?  That was like three hours ago!" frowns Autumn.  Then she stares at me.  "Hey.  You shaved your head.  It looks terrible.  Now you need a new nickname."

"Uhm" I say self-consciously rubbing my scalp.  When I was kicking, I decided to shave my head.  Thus far, everyone universally agrees, I look terrible. 

"Grow your hair back!" commands Dev.  "I miss your long hair!"  

"Ok, Dev" I smile.

Autumn picks up her pint of wine.  I watch Dev sway and wobble back to her chair.  She collapses and starts to slouch forward.  Shiny, faraway eyes.

"We need some ice" says Autumn.  "Box wine is better with ice!  Oh!  Do you have any rolling papers?"

"Maybe in-" I start to say but Autumn leaps up snapping her fingers in my face.

"I got it!" she says.  "We'll call you Auschwitz!"

"Oh my god!  You are such a fucking bitch Autumn!" says Dev.

"Oh're in The Tribe right?" babbles Autumn using chopsticks to eat slivers of chicken and noodle.  Then she points the chopsticks at me.  "Do you have any Zigzags?  Dev wants to roll a joint.  We're cleaning all the glass pipes!  Do you have papers?  No?  Do you have any ice?"

"My dad's Jewish!  I serve the Tree of Life you antisemitic grunge bitch!" says Dev squinting through one, angry eye.

"Yeah, yeah.  Sorry Dev.  Hey!  I got back today" says Autumn smiling sweetly at me.  "Like you.  But Jason is tomorrow.  I'm here to trade with Dev.  Boy for girl.  You like trading?  You need anything?  You cool, man?  Hey!  You guys have ice?  You want some noodles?  Meat or veggie?  I like meat.  They grill it good at Mr. Pho's!  Wanna bite?  No?  Ok then.  Carry on."

I look at them.  Dev is high on smack.  Autumn is high on coke.  Dev lifts a foot  showing me her underwear and a skinny, pale leg with painted toenails.  Electric versions of blue, red and orange.

"I told Khadj..." mumbles Dev who's eyeballs rise up into her mind.  I wait as she casually nods out, falls forward and face-smacks the table.  She wakes up, peels a Uno card off her forehead and carries on like nothing happened, "paint them techno Persian.  Cool, huh?"  Then she starts to nod again.  Her chin slow motion drops to her chest.  When it touches her Subhuman's t-shirt, she's gone.

I just spent my break with relatives who enjoy a rich and robust drinking culture.  Alcohol is one of the few things strong enough to hold me down, so I enjoyed myself.  I had to bunk with my brother and fell into his patterns of exercise and manliness.  We worked out at dawn regardless of how much we drank the night before.  
"Hangovers are for pussies", explained Carl.  Push ups, sit ups, stretches and weight training before the morning run to the lake.  Though I puked, I learned my body is not broken.  It's actually pretty strong considering how terrible I treat it.  Human existence is hardly frail and I no longer slouch beneath the smothering sky of opiates.  Like Dev.  Jesus.  Is this what I used to look like?  

"So?  Need anything?  Let me know.  Be here for a bit.  I wanna finish cleaning these pipes" says Autumn while viciously cracking her gum.  Her jawline muscles are vibrating with gerbil-like intensity.  "Secret is you gotta soak them.  Alcohol and salt.  Alcohol, salt and elbow grease.  Like new!  You have any ice?  Do you want some noodles?"

"Nah, I gotta unpack" I say taking in the chaos of the kitchen.  

Neither Autumn or Dev look or smell good.  Dev is asleep with one eye open, cigarette burns all over her t-shirt and Autumn has carved the word 'MEAT' into her arm.  Her other arm is bruised with needle holes and smiley-face burns from a lighter.  These girls are living a little rough.

"Ok and if you want to hook up the tar I got some" shrugs Autumn who swigs her wine.  "But I need ice.  Do you know where to get any ice?"

"Nope" I say picking up my stuff and walking down the hall thinking about being high...Heroin and cocaine would make my kitchen cozy again.  I almost turn around but keep walking.


I take a long shower and think about heroin and cocaine.  Either would hit the fucking spot after a month of being clean.  Hell, maybe I could control it this time?  I sigh and look at my face.  My eyes are my own.  Alert with properly sized pupils that adjust normally to light.  I am a carbon-based organism with the illusion of free will wrapped around my existence.  I think about heroin and cocaine.  But I also need a shave.

I use Jason's shaving cream and one of Kym's razors.  As I carefully peel away my feral scruff, I notice the counter.  A half cup of mint tea.  An ashtray with lipstick stained butts.  She's here.  Khadja.  Strands of purple and pink hair in her brush.  The thin, spiked collar resting atop a pile of jangly silver bracelets from a far, far away land.
  While thinking about her, I cut my neck.  A blood rivulet pierces the snowy white foam.  I finish shaving, wash my face and dab Neosporin on my cut.  Then I go lay down.  My room has molecular particles of Kym in the air.  Cigarette, myrrh, wildflowers and amber.  I am home.

Even with my door closed, the TV and stereo blasting, I can still hear Autumn.  Asking and answering question after question.  Talking to no one about nothing.  Did Kym experience this madness?  Is she still clean?  It's hard to say.  I could hook up right now if I wanted.  I am tempted because you never know when Dev and Autumn might wander away.  Did Kym score?  Cocaine is her flavor.  I think about heroin.  I think about it a lot.  The temptation is a whirling madness in my mind.  Moth wings brushing against my face in the Darkness.  I close my eyes and hear the voices of my friends and loved ones swirl in my mind.

"Heroin makes the pain go away.  But it costs us everything.  Everything, babe.  How much life do we miss?" says Khadja.

"This is but a blip in my biography, dude" says Jason.  "Makes living with you and the Devil's daughter easier to deal with."

"This is Daphne" says Devika patting the enormous girth of the eucalyptus tree fondly.  "She reminds us all that we too, can be strong."

"I don't know what's harder.  Putting a bullet right here" says Michelangelo pointing to the side of his skull, "or accepting this mess as life."

"Look at you" says Carl.  "Don't be a loser junkie vampire pussy faggot.  You're killing mom."

"Fuck it" says Autumn, "gonna die anyways."


From our window, we have a view of the neighbor's house.  A cable and telephone box with snarls of wire dangling like some alien jellyfish plastered onto the wood.  Above it is a sliver of sky we watch from bed.  Rarely is the sky blue in this part of the world.  I stare into a dull, gray nothingness and think.  Santino's Minimart.  Only two blocks away and I do need smokes.  Plus, there's an ATM there...I could get cash.  Just to have some on hand.  How long has it been?  Today is the 33rd day of no heroin or cocaine.  That is a long time.  I should feel proud.  And it does feel good.  My brain is mine, my cock is mine and my life is mine.  I wonder if Kym bought any cocaine?  I wonder if she bought any heroin?  I could just go get the money in case she did.  Then I'd have it.  Heroin and cocaine.  But I will wait for Kym.  There is nothing more important in the Universe than her smile.  Nothing...

"Nothing!" I say out loud to reassure myself.  I smile because it doesn't work and outside, the wind slams into the window and shakes it violently.

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