He couldn’t sleep… the gnawing in his blood stream was overwhelming. His veins screamed out wordlessly in a language most don’t ever want to know. Dante forgot that there are not nine but ten levels of Hell. Opiate withdrawal definitely comes into the count. Killed by an angel. By his calculations, he was almost a full day into kicking this shit. His veins were gone. He had skin infections and fever. An open wound had developed on his arm. His bones ached and his intestines spasmodically twisted. He thought that he’d die… No merciful God up above could give him any aid. Long ago he had given up on doing any real good in the world. He made several bad choices in his life. Life changing. Most people looked back on such things with a comfort that comes with distance… the pain no longer so searing. His wasn’t so. Heroin didn’t provide such niceties. The first moment that spike punctured the skin… the hot wire pissing oblivion across his nervous system, he was lost forever. He writhed in sweat soaked agony. He tried thinking about anything… futility. The door opened to his garage. He was in a corner. Couch and rags. Rumpled. A voice called out, “Alec?” He moaned. “It stinks in here.” He felt like a thousand nails were coming through his skin… Skinned from the inside. Wrung out. A girl approached. He opened his eyes. “Hurt. I hurt. Fuck me…” She knew what he needed and went about doing it. He was a few short hours closer to relief than he was if he went back the hard way. She tapped his arms and then moved to his feet, looking for a vein. Tiny mouths opened up in his veins… his bloodstream cried. Soon… oblivion.
Hours later, they emerged from the garage. The sun hurt his eyes. He was numb again. The heroin had smoothed out his rough edges. Lethargy. Insulation. He walked past his grandmothers swimming pool. It had been empty for years. He couldn’t recall swimming in it, anymore than he could recall what his life felt like without drugs… He wasn’t a tenth of what he thought he’d be. That’s when he noticed the skateboarders. He stopped. They were in the pool. They had skateboards and they just stood there looking at them.
His friend Candice was mumbling to him, “They asked one day. Grandma had them clean up the yard and trim the trees.” He walked past the pool edge and looked closer. One of them pushed into the deep end and came flying up to the edge in front of him. he pivoted and plunged back down. The others smacked their boards on the ground as each took a turn riding in the pool. “Who painted over the crappy graffiti?” he asked. Candace said that the skaters had done it the day before. “You were out of it, Alec.” Must’ve been… They watched for awhile. Between the dope and the skateboarders, everything felt dream-like and strange. They left to go to a friends house and as he climbed slowly into the car, he could still hear their laughter…
Thanks to MRZ for the images. Skate and don’t try heroin. – Ozzie