It was here at night that Edward would get what he needed.
"You got the money?"
"I always do, don't I?" $200 was exchanged for a brown substance.
"I'll see you around, then," Eddy said, as he left the alley way, heading back to his apartment, now that he had his little piece of salvation.
Edward was a scag junkie, a dope fiend, a horse addict, a junk head, a smack lover... Eddy was a heroin user.
It wasn't always like this, though. He decided to experiment at the advice of a friend. Of course, his friend's advice was simple, "Drugs, man... They get you right." It wasn't just the advice obviously. Only a fool would follow a needle to that line. What drew Eddy to heroin was the curiosity of drug use, the magic that he had heard of so many times. It was his human nature that brought him to the drug, his love for its taste that kept him on it (perhaps also the physical addiction factors?). Since birth, for every human, the rules for thinking are the same. The sensations and the emotions that go through our minds, since we are aware of them, are always the same. Our understanding of the world around us is through these means, and they never change. But what if they could change? What if you could gain a sixth, a seventh, or an eighth sense? That is what drew Eddy to Heroin. He was entirely uneducated as far as drugs go when he decided to choose that drug -- the one drug that every psychonaut (or drug user with varied taste) chooses last. He wanted to have an altered consciousness, so he tried Heroin.
He had no problem with the needle. None at all, in fact. His father was a pharmacist, and often times would draw blood from family members to test to see if they have any signs of disease. Though for most users, it's the first time with a needle that bothers him, it never bothered Eddy at all.
Eddy was a manager of an outlet of a chain, computer store, "Computerz Fast." He would respond, of course, "Yeah, I know it's a stupid fucking name, but they pay me $16.50 an hour so that when someone shoves a pencil up my ass, I will scream, 'Yes, the customer is always right!'" It was his paycheck, not criminal activity, that paid for his "drug abuse." It was expensive, so he had a very small apartment, which obviously lacked in decor or electrical appliances.
Aside from his career as a manager, he also was part of a foreign film club. It was a splinter off of a college group. Two years back, Eddy graduated with a degree in Finance. While in college, he attended a foreign film club. Everyone in the club, except for Eddy, was obtaining a degree in an English major. Still, more than half of the people in the club could speak either French or Spanish, putting Eddy in the minority a second time. Yet this did not deter him. He loved watching foreign films, even if he had to read what the person talking was speaking at the bottom. Everyone in the club had their own reasons for liking the movies that they did. For Eddy, he liked to see things from another culture's point of view. In a way, it wasn't much different from what attracted him to drug use. He enjoyed seeing a film without American commercialism, the "sex is our ultimate purpose" end always in mind, the "riches and glory" persona. He enjoyed those, true, but only to a certain extent, and it seemed that American culture was just overflowing with those fake ideals. By seeing a 1952 German film, or a '39 Polish film, or a '64 Russian film, he was given a different point of view. It was the director of the film who was responsible for trying to give the viewer a different point of view, to see -- even if for just a fleeting second -- what it was like to live the life of another in completely adverse conditions.
Naturally, once they all graduated college, they left the club, but 1/3rd of the members decided to reassemble it. Instead of viewing a movie at a college room, they would alternate between the apartments of each other for viewing. The club was a group of kindly friends...
"What should we watch next week?" Donald asked the group.
"How about Citizen Kane?" Allyson suggested.
"That's about as foreign as McDonald's," Eddy replied.
"Besides, that movie was pretty bad," Janey said.
"What!?!?" Ralph burst in, "That movie is my reason for living!"
"Then I would have committed suicide a long time ago if I were you," Janey replied.
"Shutup, wench," Ralph said playfully, with a grin, which was returned with a smile by Janey.
"I think we really need to have a viewing of Godzilla..." Eddy said, sarcastically, "I mean, that foreign film's ability to amaze me, just, wow... You don't get that quality in just any film."
"Yeah," Janey retorted, "Those planes hanging from wires are just a quality that you can't find in other foreign films."
"How about Le Boucher?" Donald asked.
"Aw, Christ..." Eddy said, "Is that another fucking French, love film?"
"Heyyyy," Allyson said, "I love movies!"
"Please, Allyson," Janey insisted, "The proper term is 'film.'"
"Sorry," she said, half sarcastic, half playful, bowing her head in a way that made her look adorable. It might have been conceived in the heart of Eddy that he loved her, but he doesn't have a sex life. He has a junk life, and that's all he would need, so he was convinced.
"All in agreement of Le Boucher say aye..." Donald said to the group.
"Aw, fuck Democracy," Eddy said. Donald, Allyson, and Ralph agreed to watch it, with Janey and Eddy in the minority. That was typically how films were almost always chosen. When Janey or Eddy voted for a film together, it was almost opposed by others in the group, except on those fortunate occasions where they were ignorant on the style of the film. "I didn't know they were going to be killing people," Allyson once said to Eddy's movie that made the Democracy cut.
No one in the Foreign Film Club was aware of Eddy's secret habit. He had kept knowledge of it away from his friends, because he knew they would react negatively, since it was something they did not, possibly could not, understand. Allyson had once noticed the needle marks on his arm from shooting up, and she asked him what it was. "Oh, well," Eddy said, as his heartbeat began to race, "My father is a pharmacist, and he sometimes takes my blood to test for disease." It was true, and she had known this before as well. However, in all truth, he had stopped the practice of letting his father test his blood many years ago, since he started college.
It was a Wednesday night. He was alone. It was quiet. The grasshoppers were chirping in a city park nearby. He could hear people outside walking on the pavement sidewalks. He relaxed into a sofa chair with a needle and his brown magic. He had acquired a needle from a supply his father had. He also acquired several extra just in case anything happened to the first. So, he empirically knew that it was clean, that there was no possibility of getting a disease from shooting up. There alone in his poorly furnished apartment, he tied off his arm, spiked his vein, and injected. Releasing the belt which he had used as a tourniquet, his head fell back. Immediately, warmth and carelessness overtook his body. He became invincible, but didn't care about it. He could take on the world for those few brief hours, but he had no ambition to. The world around him began to speed up, and it felt like small needles were piercing every part of his physical body. It wasn't painful, though. Rather, it was just peaceful, just relaxing.... Just high. He sat on his sofa chair, looking out of a window in his apartment, seeing the world go by. He was, as he had believed, at the center of the Universe. That was his fix for the night. There would be one tomorrow, just like there was one the day before.
So that was his routine... Work, heroin, and the occasional Foreign Film Club meeting. It had been this way for several months. But, as it occasioned, there was an interruption to this means of living. "Hello," Eddy answered the phone.
"Hi, Eddy," a voice spoke, "It's Allyson."
"Hey, what's up?" he said.
"I have a problem," she said, "There was a malfunction in the heater in my apartment building, and the state social workers said that we can't sleep there any more. Is it okay if I stay at your place for tonight? Please?"
"Yeah, of course," he said, "It's no problem at all. You know the address?" Though the club switched between apartments for film viewing, there was never once a viewing at Eddy's place. The reason? He doesn't own a TeeVee. Or a VCR for that matter. He gave her the address, and within the hour, she appeared. By this time, Eddy had gone through the courtesy of laying blankets out on the floor. Of course, they were for himself, because he was deciding to let his friend use the bed. He was a junk addict. Not inconsiderate.
He welcomed her inside with a hug, and a kindly gesture. He offered her food, though he didn't have a great deal of it. She only had some soda. As the night wore on, she would make herself more comfortable, doing the only recreational activity that Eddy's apartment allowed: reading (at least, the only "legitimate" recreational activity). He sat on his sofa chair, looking out the window, clawing at his skin for another needed hit. He would turn back, look at her, in depth in a book, and then he would turn back to looking out the window. "Should I?" he thought. He decided to get his wooden box, which he had used for the storage of his magical substances, and go into the bathroom.
He tied his arm off with his belt, the same practice that he had become accustomed to. As his vein popped, Allyson walked opened the door to the bathroom and looked in. "Hey, Eddy, did you see this --" she became a blank stare. Holding the belt end in his mouth and a filled needle in the one hand, he looked back.
Still holding the belt in his mouth, he said, "Get out!" It was almost a call of anger and animosity.
"But, what are you --"
"No!" he said, "Don't fucking ask! Just get the fuck out!"
"Fuck you!" he said, kicking the bathroom door shut. Allyson stood outside the bathroom, her hands balled up together into a fist, completely unsure of how she should proceed. She figured that he was an addict, and hence must be a violent person. So she let him be. Before she had already concluded all of this, Eddy had already shot up and pulled the needle out, enjoying his high.
He walked out of the bathroom, still under a great deal of intoxication, and placed his magic box in the cupboard. He looked at her, as she turned to him, pretending that she was just reading a book. And he replied with a look almost of disdain. "I think you have a problem," she said in a scratchy voice.
"I don't," he said, "That's my fun. It's how I get off. I never criticized you for how you enjoy yourself, so you shouldn't criticize me."
"You're destroying your brains!" she said exasperated, "You're putting your body through suffering!"
"If I was going through suffering," he said, "Then I sure as fuck wouldn't do it. I'm not a fucking moron. Besides, it's my body, I get to decide what to do with it, and it's not your choice. Okay? Leave it alone. Let it be. You understand?"
She nodded, not believing a word he said. He would sit in his sofa, watching the stars and seeing the world about him. And he would fall asleep there, in his ecstasy and joy, watching the world under his new vision. Then 7:30 A.M. rolled around, the alarm clock went off, and in less than 15 minutes, he had breakfast, was dressed, and was already off to work. Later that day Allyson also went to work.
After his hard 10-hour day of working at the computer shop, of bossing around mindless idiots who are trying to get a college education, he longed for the taste of that sweet opium. He arrived home, and found Allyson lying on the bed, reading a book. "How was work?" she asked.
"It sucked, like normal," he responded, taking off his tie. "Did you clean the house, honey?" he said, "I mean, since we're in this temporary living arrangement, we may as well just pretend we're married." They both smiled.
Eddy threw his tie on the floor, and went to the cabinet. Allyson knew his desire, and stood up, in front of him, to stop him from getting to the cabinet.
"How about we go out to eat?" she said, "My treat!"
"Heh," Eddy said, "I'm sorry, but I need my fix..."
He went to reach for the cabinet, but she moved in the way and said, "Or how about the movies instead? Please? We can go to that foreign film movie theater down the street!"
"No, I'm not interested in that," Eddy replied.
He tried to reach for the cabinet again, but she stopped him. She was about to go on with some other suggestion, when he yelled, "MOVE!!!" She figured that the drugs had been making him violent, had been turning him into a monster. He opened the cabinet, and took out the magic box. Before going to the bathroom, he looked at her with lowered eyes, full of contempt.
Finally in the bathroom, with his piece of salvation. His fingers ran across the smooth surface of the wooden box. His heart's content was inside. He slowly began to open it...
"WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?!?!?"
He burst out of the bathroom. "What the fuck happened to my shit? Where is it?"
Allyson looked at him with fearful eyes, "I flushed it down the toilet."
"What the fuck!?!?!?!? You are a fucking, miserable, unhappy piece of fucking shit!" he screamed, "What the fuck gives you the right to take MY FUCKING PROPERTY and do with it what YOU FUCKING THINK YOU ARE ALLOWED TO DO!? FUCKING TELL ME!! You piece of fucking shit!"
He grabbed her by the shirt, opened the door, and shoved her out. "Now you stay the fuck away from me," he said, "And when you ask someone else if you can sleep under their roof, don't forget to tell them that you have a habit of stealing what belongs to them and destroying it, for the sake of your own fucked up morality!"
As he slammed the door, she said, "Eddy! Wait! It's for your own good! You shouldn't be doing that!" But she left, leaving him to his misery, believing that she had done what was right, knowing in her heart that her actions may have saved his life.
While she was walking down the street, she was thinking of friends she could call to stay with them, but as she did this, Eddy sat in his sofa chair, with his forehead in his palm. He eyes were balled up and closed, as tears slowly slid out of their sides, and a grimace came across his face, and he gritted his teeth in animosity, hatred, and pain. "What the fuck gives her the right?" he whispered to himself, under his breath. His own peace, his own salvation, for that night was gone. It was what he did. He never once took away a person's television set when they sat there for six hours watching reruns of the same program. He never once took away a musichead's CDs because he thought it was destroying them. He never once took away the notepads of the poets and the writers (of course, why would he do that, since poets and writers have the same habit as he does?). He never once felt that a person's preference was a source of cruelty. And so, he sat there, in tears, wondering of the great pain done to him. He did nothing wrong, but open his home to someone he thought his heart trusted. "And...." he continued in his broken voice, "And she did it, because she thought it was good for me. That fucking bitch." He spoke as tears slid down his face, still not wishing to deal with the great tragedy that was before him.
He convinced himself, after enough time had passed, that everything would be all right. He made a few phone calls. "Yeah," he said to one dealer, "It's times like these that make me question the advantages of civilization having a sewer system at all." In less than an hour and a half, he had more China White. Eddy sat in his bathroom, tied off his arm, spiked his vein, and shot up. The warmth and tranquility overwhelmed his body again, and he was where he had desired to be only so many hours earlier. In this substance, he found his peace. Relax. Breath. Look. That was the greatest hit of heroin he ever had, because it was the most needed.
He would go to work again the next day, and the day after. Finally, he would head to Donald's apartment, where the group had planned to meet for a viewing of another foreign film. When he got there, Donald let him in. He looked around, and saw that he was the only one there.
"What's going on?" he asked, but he already knew the answer before he even asked.
Donald's arms were folded. He was leaning against the wall looking down intently, then looking up to make eye contact, he spoke. "I heard about what you did to Allyson," he said.
"Dude, did you fucking hear what she did to me?" he said, "She destroyed my love."
"She was trying to save you from yourself!" Donald said, angered, "You're killing yourself with that shit."
"It's my self to kill," Eddy said, "My body doesn't belong to you, so don't fucking make presumptions on how it should be treated. I am not your fucking slave so don't act like you're my fucking master."
"I'm just trying to do what's good for you," Donald said.
"What's good for me?" he replied, "I think I'm pretty capable of determining what's good for me. After all, I am me, and you're not."
"You're destroying your body with it," Don said, "You're wrecking your health. You'll be a corpse in less than a year."
"God fucking dammit!" Eddy said, "Didn't I fucking tell you!? It's my body, you let me do what I want with it."
"I can see the drug has totally taken effect of your mind," Donald said, "And I noticed a change in you recently, too. I just didn't know it was this."
"Bullshit!" Edward said, "If you noticed a change in me, you would have said it then. But you didn't, because you didn't notice shit."
"You use to be a friend," Donald said.
"Oh, right," Eddy said, "But my personal habits are what make me a bad person."
"You can't reason, obviously," Donald said, "The drug has control of your brain. It's destroying your brain cells. If it doesn't kill you, it'll turn you into a zombie."
"Fuck you," Eddy said.
"I see a junkie isn't capable of anything more intelligent," Donald replied. Eddy was silent. "Okay then," Donald said, turning around looking out the window, "The group has said that you're no longer welcome to our meetings."
"What?" Eddy asked, "They didn't have the balls to tell me themselves?"
"The group has spoken," Don said, "Everyone was greatly disappointed in you, and the sick lifestyle you're leading. You need help."
"I think you need help in declaring who needs help," Eddy retorted.
"Whatever," Donald said, "Now get out of my apartment, you heroin addict."
"I'm going," Eddy said, "Besides, I didn't like watching movies with a bunch of assholes who thought this way of me anyway." And so he left, as fast as he could. The things Donald told him hurt. They hurt in a bad way. They made him feel low, they made him feel down and out. He hated the way they carved his heart. If it was anyone else, he would have brushed it off. But it was a friend who had turned the knife and thrusted it deep inside. So it was with all the members of the group, with Janey, with Ralph, with Allyson.... They all betrayed him with this.
Upon his coming home, he shot up again. It was the second time that day. It was a needed hit though. Yet, it was the first time he did it twice in one day. It was... needed.
The days would pass, and he would receive a phone call. "Hello," he said.
"Hi, Eddie!" the voice spoke, "It's your mother!"
"Hi, mom," he said, "What's going on?"
"Me and pops," she said, "We know about your habit... you know..."
"No, I'm afraid I don't know what you're talking about," he said, trying to hide all of his anxiety and nervousness.
"We know about your drug problem," his mother said.
"Aw, Christ," he said under his breath, lowering his head.
"Now," his mother began, "We know of several rehab programs that you can take to end the abuse you're doing to yourself."
"Why would I want to end the way I'm living?" he said assertively, "I love doing this. I've been doing it for a long time, and nobody has ever noticed any change in me, except for a minor loss of weight. I love the way I'm living."
"Son," his mother said almost crying, "You have to end it..."
"Mom, don't start crying," he said, "Please... Listen... There's nothing wrong with what I'm doing. It's my choice. Let me make it for myself."
"But you saw the drug commercials, haven't you!" she urged him, "They say that when you take a drug, it's like an egg, being smashed with a frying pan, and then..."
"I know, mom," Eddy replied, "I've seen the commercial. And that certainly has not happened to my mind, so it can't be all that true."
"You have to go to rehab, son," she said, "You have to. Otherwise... I can't call you my son."
"I'm not going," Eddy said boldly. His mother hung up the phone, and he heard the dial tone. Seconds passed. Thoughts tossed. "Yeah!? WELL, FUCK YOU, TOO, MOM!!!"
A week or two would pass. He continued his normal lifestyle, almost completely unchanged. Only now, he had no family, and no friends. They had all turned on him. He tried to compensate for their loss by making friends at work. Though he never went out with any of them for an evening of activities, it sort of soothed his desire for social contact. Finally, the monthly business meeting would come. It was, for our hero Eddy, just another time to slouch back in his chair, and pretend that he wasn't conscious. It reminded him of his days as a schoolboy, where he would pretend he was asleep, so that nobody would bother him.
But, in the midst of this half conscious thinking, something came that jolted him. "I've heard some rumors from people not affiliated with the company," the boss said, "I've heard that some people in our company have a drug problem." Edward sat up straight. "From now on, every month, there will be a drug test."
"Fuck me," Eddy said to himself under his breath. He left the meeting with animosity and anger. Once at home, he called up Donald... "Hey, asshole, why the fuck are you trying to fuck up my life?"
"I'm just trying to do what's best for you," Donald said.
"Yeah, well, I think I'm more qualified than you to do that, so why don't you just leave me the fuck alone!?" he said.
Several days would pass. Then, the landlord would come by. "Hey, Eddy, how's it going?"
"It's going all right," he said, peering up with one eye from his magazine. It seemed odd that his landlord would come by; much more odd so that the landlord was making chitchat like this. "What's the problem?"
"I've heard some things from a girl who came by," the landlord said.
Eddy rolled his eyes, and said to himself, "I can't believe this..."
"She said you've been doing.... drugs?" the asked.
"She's my ex girlfriend," Eddy lied successfully, "She's just trying to fuck me up. She even went to my work to try and get me fired. She's a fucking pain in the ass. I'm going to have to do something about her. Don't worry about it, though."
"Oh, okay," the landlord said, non-confrontational as he was, and left.
It was too much for him. Eddy made one last visit to his drug dealer. "Hey, you got the money?"
"As usual," he said, "Here's $1,000... Lay it on me, motherfucker."
"Here you go," he said, "Don't use it all at once."
As Eddy was about to walk out of the alleyway, he turned to his dealer and asked him, "Hey, if I was gay, would you refuse to sell to me?"
"That's a fucked up question," the dealer said, "Of course I would. Why?"
"Because some of my friends refuse to talk to me because of my preference," Eddy said, "But you are my best friend."
The dealer said, "I've always been your best friend." They smiled at each other, as Eddy left... walking down the cold, dark alleys of this forsaken city. He resigned his position, packed his belongings into one suitcase, and left the terrible city behind. He took one long look into the night sky, as the clouds began to gather, as he was at the beginning of a long journey. "I wish things didn't have to be this way," he said. It started to rain, and he boarded the bus to that city on the other side of the continent. Maybe there he could find people who understood him for who he was, who wouldn't force him to make a choice: between your friends and between your souls. But now that Eddy had enough heroin to keep him supplied for weeks, he had his religion for himself. He knew that he would let his body die before he let his soul become wounded. So he trekked on, in this life of his, being who he was, and refusing to make any compromise.