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Come Together: Chapter 5.
The Wages Of Despair.
My frayed resolve, the dregs of my own freedom, dashed away from the little prossie at the bus stop, the guy who sold himself, the guy far richer than I could imagine right now. I was nothing, but society deemed Bobby as even less than me, yet money deafens the clicking tongues and turns the quiet shaking of the heads into a frozen static, mute bewilderment when a wad of money waved a yes in front of their disapproval. Swooping into the nearest Offie, a ragged bird of prey, I freed a few bottles of cider from their capitalist prison. Screams of the shopkeeper stung my already tingling skin and the hunt began! The winds of indignation chased me in the form of several shop workers and a security guard down the street, all yapping like guard dogs, protecting the precious juice that had been pressed out of crushed apple cores they sorely needed. But I was winning, I had a head start and I was being pursued by an old woman and a fat, middle-aged security guard who had taken this job as a desperate last resort... to avoid resorting to what I was doing now!
My laboured breath gasped, wrenching dignity from me in mighty heaves and sweat dripped, having a race of it's own on my tender skin. Glancing back, I nearly collided with a lamppost, swerving just in time as a gaggle of smackheads tripped the security guard. His Bloatedness went sailing through the air, black uniform magnetically attracted to the black bin bags he smashed into. The old woman dangled around on the curb as a flock of heroin addicts began their default position of unnecessary aggravation as the security guard stood up and got into a slanging match with the zombies, the last thing any right thinking person should do. But he wasn't, was he? His mind had been poisoned by the yearning to supplicate himself to the Minimum Wage in order to pretend he mattered. Yet again, I was soooo superior, right? The last I saw before I disappeared into an alley and the freedom of poverty was the security guard throttle one of the men whose veins had become blue poppy roots...
... I considered plummeting into the same opiate abyss that night. I sat in a squat, surrounded by other nutters and nothings, so out of it, I didn't even know how I'd got there, only wanting to know that there was only one way, deeper, harder! I sound like one his customers, a thought pieced itself together from missing threads in my brain. Nearby, a living scarecrow tried to sneak away one of the dregs of my cider bottle, my hand darted like the tongue of a chameleon and snatched the bottle away. Screams and incoherent recrimination erupted, a jet of refuse where a person once lived. I silenced his ramblings with a punch, careering him back and knocking his head against some exposed brick in the wall, all in all, I giggled and carried on in my destruction.
My eyesight turned into ribbons and streaked left and right in a harmony of discord. They told me lies, they slid with the slurry of any grace I had and left me here as a shell, filled with a kind of battery acid that masqueraded as alcohol, I was best in this place. The darkness of nerves couldn't return here, my mental collapse had been countered with a forged one of my own design. The past of my nervous breakdown had been evicted and the shadow of dossing was firmly in control. Having lodged me here in this, place? Where a dark lamp illuminated a clutch of verminous people too lowly to even parody apes! One person - vision was so slurred I couldn't tell if it was a man or woman - sobbed in a pool of their own vomit. Another guy had a needle hanging out of his arm, foam at his mouth signifying he'd crossed into OD territory, a junkie's devil where your life pretended to be the soul. A fell interplay between needle and your life force, where each injection instilled addiction in you and robbed life from you in a terrifying intravenous ballet.
As the foam made a bid for liberty down the smackhead's chin, other hyenas - the personification of the addiction killing him - thronged the junkie departing planet earth. They freed him of money, clothes, a fight erupted over the needle in his arm. A slow motion wrestle that was too close to call, until the sludge of thought noticed someone trying to stick the syringe into me. The clarity of crapulence allowed me to intercept the sallow faced, bald headed lich that was trying to convert me... and shove the needle into his eye. The rest was an orchestra of scream's, junkies wrestling for the needle... and a poor excuse for cider!
Morning's boisterous rays poked me awake. Inviting me to indulge in nervousness, a head of itching burlap, with matching tongue accessory. Limbs like cheap plastic lingered - like the cider bottle - where good muscle had once served... the smackheads must have nicked it, I thought as an aching vacuum of fear drilled through my stomach, causing the rigid muscles to shake, summoning a cold sweat onto my flaking skin. Gaze lurched from one side of this room to the other, a glare of sunlight glimpsed through the wood where a window once invited it. Brown walls grimaced from the human detritus it had to bear from the earth this stone had been yanked from. A bubble of despair dislodged from the whole and jammed in my throat, causing my swollen, scratched eyes to well up... a sob of anguish ran out of my throat and the shaking grew more violent. I curled up as my sobs, trembling my whole body, departed to exhibit my misery with the wider world. My tear diluted stare sought the eyes of the OD'd smackhead. His dilated glance seemed to be searching for greater meaning, the blue around his whitened, foam and vomit congealed lips providing nothing but a greater longing. I envied him in a way, all of this had ended for him now, a callous memory sparked in my brain, recalling something I'd heard on one of those brainy programmes... University Challenge? Frantic brain tried to ask. Something mentioning Levels of Hell... I was going down a notch. Recollections of my breakdown, outside leering offices, on my knees, tearing at the suit, having been slung out of work, that was no past worse than an empty future...
... Bobby opened his door to me snuffling and wiping my eyes. His own eyes were looking for the same meaning as that dead smackhead. He was in boxers, wearing a black studded dog collar, his face was smeared with make-up, but seemed to not give a fuck, pride was his own intravenous needle that had been drained completely. "Alright?" He murmured quietly, my pain couldn't summon politeness, it could only (barely) form the words, "I'm in."
Bobby studied me quietly, nodding. "Okay then," he mumbled. "You'll hear from me soon." His head darted behind him and into his bedsit, facing me again with a look of desolate urgency. "I've gotta go, I'd invite you to join but, he prefers his lads clean." He closed the door slowly, abandoning me on the dim staircase, enveloped by the gloom of my uncertain fate.
© Brad James, 2014.