I drum my fingers along the arms of a leather armchair, the balls of my feet twisting into one another as Chernobyl plays on the TV hanging from the wall.
I’m only half paying attention. I don’t have the attention span for much anymore, besides drugs, booze, and cigarettes. Everything else is a distraction of necessity. I shoot up from the armchair, pacing around my living room anxiously, running my hands along my oily scalp.
My breathing grows heavy and my heart begins to race. I don’t know what the fuck to do. Well, that’s not entirely true. I know what I want to do…
But it’s 4:30 PM…
I grind my teeth as I stare at the clock. Alex has been at work for an hour and a half. My eyes drift to the kitchen counter, where my keys and wallet rest. I’m in my pajamas still, but when has that ever stopped me?
In an instant, I’m in my car. I begin to back out of the driveway and head for the liquor store, a force unseen guiding my movement, poking and prodding me from behind with white hot poking sticks.
Let me make one thing clear.
I have liquor.
But I can’t start with the liquor at 4:30.
Even I can’t do that.
“Will that be all?” The old woman behind the register asks.
I pause and sigh. “Pack of Marb reds too, please.”
“Sure thing, honey.”
I brace myself on the counter as my heart rattles around my chest like an inmate in solitary confinement. I run my hands over my head again as I stare down the six pack of PBR tall boys sitting in front of me. I want to down one right now. I wanna pounce on it, like a sailor pounces on their love after being at sea for six months.
You really can never have enough cigarettes.
I cruise home, smoking all the way, even though the ride is barely long enough to get halfway through my butt. As I reach the porch I stop short. I cannot smoke inside, such behavior is forbidden. Suddenly, the cigarette is burdensome. I want booze. I want calmness. I want relief.
I stamp the cigarette out prematurely, angrily, and then crack open a beer. I guzzle half of it down in a few hearty swigs, putting the rest in the fridge as I catch my breath. I’m not the biggest fan of beer. It always felt like beating around the bush to me. It leaves me bloated and yearning for more. But it curbs my anxiety, and allows me to think for a second. And for that, I am thankful.
I sit back down in the armchair, and put on a Sopranos re-run. I can quote this show like the Bible. It’s the one where Tony B gets out of prison. Tony B, Jesus Christ. Such a short arc for such an impactful character. I would suck David Chase’s dick if it meant I was given a quarter of his writing talent.
Beer number two is cracked in record time. I begin to ease up a bit more. The Cocaine in my desk drawer is calling my name. I thought I took this time off to have fun, but it’s caused me nothing but stress, anxiety. I just wanna get high, and when I get high, well…
I don’t wanna get as high.
Then I wanna get higher.
And so on.
And so forth.
I get up to take a piss. It’s yellow, a sign of dehydration. Let’s see… I’ve had two slices of Domino’s pizza in the last two days, and a decent amount of water. Or at least, I thought I did. I have no appetite. Well, that’s a lie. I’m hungry, but the idea of food detests me. Which I suppose is ironic in a way, what with my gut and tits and all.
I down two Gatorades back to back, almost vomiting as I pace around the kitchen. I cover my mouth in a futile attempt to resist my gag reflex. I choke my own body into submission, and while I’m packed to the brim, it eventually begins to filter though my kidneys to my bladder, and moisture begins to form on my palms. My anxiety begins to alleviate a bit. I collapse into the armchair, put my head in my hands, and run them down my greasy face.
I get up to piss 20 minutes later, and take the time to inspect myself. My beard is unkempt, uneven, but that is to be expected. I have bags under my eyes. I’m breathing heavily, despite not physically exerting myself at all. My blue eyes are cracked and tinged bloodshot, a glossy coat of desperation in their solemn gaze as I splash water on my face.
I storm out of the bathroom and take the immediate right to my bedroom, sitting down on my unmade bed and tearing my nightstand drawer open. I pull out my copy of Appetite For Destruction, as well as the eight ball of Cocaine in a small ziplock bag.
I dump a bunch of it out, pressing my license over it as I run a lighter over it. It compresses to a flat, clumpy, powder, probably because I’m in a basement. I don’t fuckin’ know, I’m not a God damn scientist.
I scrape the residual Coke off the back of my license and, like a Benny Hanna’s chef, chop up the Cocaine into a few fine lines. My hands shake as I pull a straw out, its insides caked with Ketamine, MDMA, and Cocaine, and sniff a fat line to the face.
My heart pumps as the Gatorade kicks in and I re-center. I get up, arms swirling in windmill motions, pacing around my room, thumping my chest like a Gorilla. I trot out from my room swinging dick and taking names, turning around halfway down the hall to close my door.
After all, Alex’s parents still live here.
And they don’t need to see this.
I smoke a cigarette, and another, and drink another beer. It soon grows boring. I throw on some Guns N’ Roses to drown out my own thoughts…
WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE!
WE GOT FUN AND GAMES!
WE GOT ANYTHING YOU WANT, HONEY WE KNOW THE NAMES!
WE ARE THE PEOPLE THAT CAN FIND
WHATEVER YOU MAY NEED
IF YOU GOT THE MONEY, HONEY, WE GOT YO DISEASE!
Beer now bores me. I fling open the fridge and pull out my handle of Jack Daniel’s, old number seven. I slam the shot glass down. It’s 5:15PM. What am I to do?
A car door slams in the driveway, sending me into a frenzy. I bolt to the window like a dog anticipating its owner’s arrival, and realize it’s Alex’s Mom.
It checks out.
This is when she usually comes home.
She’d have no reason to come down here.
I’m just Alex’s reclusive roommate.
That always pays his rent on time, might I add.
WHICH MEANS I DON’T HAVE A PROBLEM.
Soon it’s 8 PM. I’m hammered drunk, but the Cocaine fuels me to go further. A lot of drunks will tell you they use Cocaine as a means to drink more, and little else. The actual Cocaine high means little to them, as it only facilitates more drinking.
I’m not sure where I stand on that.
I’m an uppers guy, I always will be. I love the heart-pounding euphoria of Cocaine. I love chopping it up on a CD, I love putting it up my nose, I love the numbing effect, artificial or not, on your nose and throat. I love the way it drips down my esophagus and coagulates in my liver as Cocaethylene.
I love how much fucking money I spend on it.
I love how it dictates my entire night.
Boy oh boy, I’m getting hacky now, aren’t I?
I am oh so sickeningly predictable. I stumble to the bathroom, my fingers fumbling for the light switch and slamming the door shut behind me.
When, suddenly, everything begins to shift and change.
I’m no longer in my apartment. I’m in the bathroom of some sort of music venue. Sounds of a genre I can’t pinpoint boom distortedly against the walls of the dingy bathroom. It’s just me here now, unzipping my jeans in front of a row of urinals.
When suddenly, the door swings open.
“Guy! How ya doin’?! Long time no talk, huh?!?!” He says.
I stop pissing as I look at him. He comes up to the urinal next to mine, despite several others being open. He smiles a wicked grin, his teeth crooked but not as horrendously as my own. He’s got a widow’s peak, and a mischievous smile on his face. A scar runs diagonally across his face, almost symmetrical in its haphazard execution. He smacks his lips and smiles at me as he whips his hog out and drains the main vein, as it were.
“Sup? Cat got your tongue?” He asks as he pisses.
“Nah…” I stammer back.
“Huh! Awful quiet all of a sudden, aren’t ya?”
“I don’t know…”
“You don’t know?”
He’s dressed in a cheap suit, and slams his hand against the flusher thingy before turning back to me and putting his dick back in his pants
“Fun, isn’t it?”
“All this? All this time?”
“Oooooooof! That hurts, bud! I got feelings too!”
“The day I anthropomorphize addiction in my stories is the day I die. Fuck off.”:
He puts his hands up and smiles again. “Alright! Alright! No harm, no foul! Catch you on the comedown, tough guy!”
“Wouldn’t count on it. I got Xanax.”
“Oh! Well then, excuse me! You’ve got it all figured out then don’t ya?”
“So why not finish pissin’?”
I realize I’m still holding my dick. I can’t piss with someone else there, it just can’t happen. Call it insecurity, call it what you will, but it won’t happen.
I put my dick back in my pants. He begins to laugh.
“You ever hear of rebound anxiety, Harry?” He asks as I wash my hands.
I shake my head.
“No? C’mon. A degenerate of your caliber has to be familiar with that!”
“Nope. Don’t know what you’re talking about. If you could fuck off, though, that’d be great.”
“That’s just the thing, though, Harry. You invited me in, and I’d prefer to stay.”
His teeth grow jagged, yellow, and dry like my own. His dehydrated tongue smacks around them, taunting me.
I slam the faucet handles off with as much aggression as my mind can muster. This only makes him laugh. He follows me to my bedroom, where I rack up more Coke.
“Now we’re talkin’! This is the Harry Miller I know!”
“Oh, my dear, dear, friend… I’m afraid we’re in far too deep to consider that a viable option now.
Like it or not, you’re stuck with me. You’re also a hack writer, by the way. I mean, c’mon, personifying addiction as a tall, dark, and handsome man with charisma and a sleeve full of magic tricks? Not exactly re-inventing the wheel, are ya?”
“Well if I’m a fucking hack, I’m a fucking hack, right?”
“HA! That’s right. And ain’t shit you can do to change that. You are the Dean Koontz to Morbo2000’s Stephen King. The re-rock to his fish scale…”
“Yeah. Yeah, I am. And so fuckin’ what?!?!”
He shrugs. “I don’t know. I just know it fucks with you.”
“Oh yes! It drives you fucking crazy. It’s the only thing I let you have an ego about: who’s the bigger loser. Who’s got the better stories of drug-fueled degeneracy, of self-pity and self-destruction. You know you’re both losers, right?”
“Morbo’s got fucking kids, and he’s sober now…”
“You do know I don’t exist, right? You sound fucking crazy right now.”
I snort a line and look up, and he’s gone. It’s 11:30. The back door opens up.
“Sup?” Alex asks as he comes inside.
“Nothin’. Nothin’. You uh, you want a line?”
“Ah, twist my arm why don’t ya….”