Daytime

Discussion in 'Journals and Stories' started by Anonymous, Jan 28, 2019.

  1. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    I.

    "The bad news is: You're falling through the air, nothing to hang on to—no parachute. The good news is... there is no ground."

    To inject, place black end against outer thigh, then firmly—five... four... three... two... one... injection complete! Please seek emergency medical care!

    The darkness swam before her eyes, pops of light like the flash bulb on an old polaroid slowly, slowly revealing... the halogenic glow of a Quik-N-Easy. She knew it was after dark, because her eyes—still adjusting to the bright, white interior of the gas station—couldn't quite discern the parking lot outside. She knew she'd fucked up, because a great big paramedic whose name tag read PICKENS was hoisting her up into the air and setting her ass-first on the grimey countertop next to the register.

    "She's back," Pickens declared, disrupting her pupils by penlight. She cringed, feebly lifting a shaking, shuddering hand to shield her eyes. "You're back. You OD'd. Do you remember what you took?"

    "Nar... narcan?" she asked muddily.

    "No, honey, we gave you the narcan. You're flushed out. Are you on a script, or was it heroin?"

    "Yeah," she answered dismissively, brow furrowed as she cast her gaze limply around the room. "Yeah, heroin."

    "Okay. You're gonna—"

    She interrupted Pickens by hurling on his chest, thick chunks of a half-digested burger, pink and raw. Bile burned her throat and nose, and her stomach tightened like a fist as she bitterly fought the incoming waves of nausea.

    "—come on, let's get her out," Pickens grumbled, an undercurrent of annoyance souring his tone.

    "S-sorry," she murmured weakly, pushing down the urge to sob. "Your shirt, I'm... I didn't—sorry."

    Another paramedic rolled a stretcher into the store, and one loose wheel jiggling fruitlessly against the tile floor struck a chord in her belly. She threw up again, all water and bile this time, and she wondered briefly if she'd just ruined the start of some register jockey's third shift.

    "One. Two. Three," Pickens and his partner counted down, lifting her up from the countertop as if she weighed nothing at all. They deposited her on the stretcher, which barely shifted under her mass. Once they'd strapped her in, the stretcher was wheeled out into the parking lot, down a wheelchair-accessible entry ramp, and up into an ambulance's open bay, where the stretcher's legs buckled and folded so that it could be slid inside the van.

    She lost consciousness as Pickens pulled the doors shut.
     
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  2. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    II.

    It felt off. She knew that. She knew it was off, that the whole thing was fucking off, but... what choice did she have? She hadn't pushed since last night, and if she couldn't get a fix soon—well, she really didn't want to think about fucking detoxing right now. She really, really didn't. So she jammed her hands into her pockets, kept her head down and trudged forward into the bone-chilling wind.

    "Duane," she greeted as she got close. Duane was tall—a lot taller than she was—but he was lanky, too. A total beanpole. He probably played basketball in high school. Now he sold heroin.

    "Yo," Duane replied, glancing her way... and then pausing. He squinted at her in the dark, scanning the sharp, bony cheeks beneath her hood. "M? That you, girly? Goddamn, you don't look so hot!"

    "I need... just gimme a bag, Duane."

    "You know it. That's twenty. How long since your last push, girl?"

    "Fuck, man," she swore. Duane's prices had gone up. Or maybe she'd gotten poorer. She couldn't tell anymore... but she pulled a folded-in-half wad of bills out of her jeans pocket, discreetly counting four of them. "Here, man, just... fuckin'... there. I don't know. Like, eight. Maybe. Maybe ten."

    "You finna get rolled if you don't get a fix. All right, girly, all right, here..."

    Duane produced a balloon from behind his third molar and offered it to her. It was knotted off on one end, and she could see the white of the powder through its thin green skin. She palmed the balloon and jammed it into her pocket, turning away from Duane.

    "Hey, wait! Come on, girly—you need a safe place to nod, or what? You can always come back to mine and we'll—"

    Everything spun apart. Two men had stopped in front of her, handguns drawn. Panicking, she stumbled backwards and lost her footing on a patch of ice on the sidewalk, collapsing onto her ass and throwing her hands in the air. She could hear the scuffle of Duane's sneakers, but she dare not look away from the armed men in front of her.

    "PORTLAND POLICE! PORTLAND POLICE DEPARTMENT, PUT YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR!"

    She heard a commotion. Maybe they had tackled Duane. No gunfire, anyway. One of the cops hurried forward while another kept his handgun on her, as if she was some sort of menace. She was rolled onto her stomach, arms wrenched back just above her butt, wrists tied together by the metallic click-click-click of handcuffs.

    "Fuck," she swore, laying her cheek against the cold, dirty asphalt.
     
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  3. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    III.

    "Mama, please, I just.. I—"

    "You what, Logan?" her mother interrupted. Mac bit her lip, twisting the cord of the payphone around her index and middle fingers anxiously. She opened her mouth to speak, but her mother carried on.

    "You want money? Is that it? You want us to wire you money, Logan? For—for what, the millionth time? What do you want, Logan?"

    "Mama," Mac started, voice thick, tears slickening her cheeks, eyes hard, "mama, I just need money for—for the bus, for bus fare, I wanna come home... I wanna come home, and I just need... I need a place to stay, and—"

    "Do you hear yourself, Logan? I want you to put yourself in my shoes, pretend you're me, and tell me you'd wire your daughter money—your oldest daughter, who has broken your heart so many fucking times, so many times, and lied to you, and stolen from you... you've taken so, so much from us, Logan! You want bus fare—what, so you can shoot it up your arm? You want to come home, so you can swipe more of our shit, and give it to your fucking... your dealer for more heroin?"

    "N-no, mama," Mac persisted, lip trembling, a sob pausing her protest. "That's n-not what I want, I just want to... I want to get clean, I really, really do, but I need... I need..."

    "Our help? That's what you need? We gave you our help, Logan. We've given you so much help, for years, and we've been patient... we've been so patient, and you always make us regret it... every single time, Logan. No. We won't do this again."

    "Please! Please, mama—"

    Mac paused as she heard the phone rattle on the other end of the line.

    "Logan?" her father asked.

    "Daddy," she answered warmly, smiling despite her tears. "Daddy, I'm—it's so good to hear your voice, I just... I need—"

    "No, Logan," he cut her off. "No. We can't support this habit of yours anymore. You aren't welcome here—not like this. We hope... we hope you get clean, but we can't be a part of your life anymore. Not while the dope is."

    "D-daddy, I—"

    Click. The line went dead. Mac banged the phone against its receiver, hanging her head, shoulders racked with sobs.
     
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  4. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    IV.

    "Hi. Uh... my name's Logan."

    "Hi, Logan," the group—a dozen or so large—echoed back at her. She couldn't meet anybody's eyes. She focused on the shag rug beneath her slippers.

    "I'm... um... I'm new—new to Promises, I mean. I've been to Fresh Start, uh, near Ashland... and Transformations... Awakenings, and... uh... Betty Ford. So Promises is... Promises is my fifth inpatient. I don't know if—I mean, I dunno if any of you guys have me beat, but I'm on number five, so... fingers crossed, huh?"

    The crowd laughed quietly. Nobody claimed to have her beat.

    "I've been sober for... 19 days. Today's 19. It's the longest I've been sober in, like... 10 years, I think? Yeah—about a decade, maybe. I detoxed in Polk County's lock-up, in Dallas, and... uh... I mean, I wouldn't recommend it—if you guys have a choice."

    Another round of chuckles rippled through the group.

    "So, like—I started with pot and liquor in high school. You know, um... woo, party girl, whatever. I just wanted people to like me, but I was fucking... just eaten up with, like... social anxiety, and I was always depressed. I don't want to blame my parents, exactly, but they're pretty old school, y'know? They never took it seriously. I mean, we never even talked about, like, seeing a therapist. They just... bitched when I got in trouble with the cops, and told me to straighten up, and took me to church—yeah, that sort of crap. I mean, fuck, if church works for you, cool. It never worked for me."

    Mac crossed her arms, leaning forward so that her elbows pressed into her knees. She peered around at the other members of the group, each wearing their baby blue uniforms, like prison inmates.

    "So, by 19, I was drunk or high every day of the week. Mostly weed and beer... I tried E and Molly. They were cool, but, y'know... not great for just sitting around the house, huh? Then in, like, my early 20s, I got tendonitis 'cause I'd been waitressing pretty hard for like five years straight. That got me hooked on benzos, and when I couldn't afford the benzos, somebody was sweet enough to turn me onto H... yeah, thanks, man..."

    Another chuckle. Several nods. They got it.

    "I mean, it was great, right? At first. Nothing like it. If I got enough H in me, I could deal... people didn't freak me out, and I wasn't always crawling around inside my own head... but, I mean, you know how it goes—eventually, enough isn't enough anymore. You go from buying, like, one $10 bag a day to fucking $200 worth of H in an afternoon. But you can't afford the H, 'cause you can barely work when you're nodded out on the goddamn couch for sixteen hours a day... so you start stealing.

    "But it's like—high people don't make good criminals. Ever. So I'd get caught, and I'd go to jail... I'd get probation, and my PO just wouldn't give a fuck... back in jail, maybe to drug court... I'd run crying to my parents, every now and then. Beg for money. Steal from them. My little sister, too. But people get fed up with your bullshit, eventually—I mean, who can blame them? Addicts aren't exactly reliable. And it's hard to love us sometimes... like, I get that. I guess I just... I wish they weren't so fucking cold about it. I don't know."

    "Are you working the steps?" the group leader asked, smiling faintly at Mac.

    "Uh, yeah... or, I mean, they're working me... like, I'm on step four. I'm still trying. It's hard. Where do you start? I used to steal kids' lunch money in elementary school. Is that too far back?"

     
    #4 Anonymous, Apr 2, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 2, 2019
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