Wednesday, December 29, 2010
“So how many years has it been?”
Fucking Jimmy. The same witless look on his face as the last time he saw him. Front two teeth long gone, the stench of a 2-week bender was quite evident on his scent. Unpleasant as it was it never bothered him before. It was more of something that was put up with and lord knows he too at one time must’ve stunk up the ethos of those unfortunate to be around him.
“It’s been a while man…long enough to fucking know better.”
Jimmy snorted in his own distinctive fashion, tickled by the far too familiar relapse of most junkies. They had been compadres years ago. A time lost in the raising of his family, he no longer dabbled. But, she was gone now taking the two young ones with her. The drinking began soon after. At first it was a few beers at the bar. Then it turned into a few beers at home, but after awhile, the beer just did nothing for him. At that point it was nothing more than tropical Capri-Sun. So he beckoned his good friend Jack Daniels. A man of deep conviction Jack never let one forget the absolute joy he could bring into one’s darkest of days. The sleep came easier with the black and white bottle. The visions in his head slowly began to lose their realism and even these images slowly faded into the blackness. It was quite the plunge. 15 years sober. Some of it state funded, but clean nonetheless, the slippery slope was quite the easy one to find. After a few months drowned in the barley and rye, a thirst for the good stuff began to take hold of his good senses. Definitely not good for one’s good health, but he knew he could handle just one take. In moderation most anything can be a dream. The abuse was never a problem was it? It was the lack of nothing to do that made him an addict.
“You gonna hook that shit up or what Jimmy?”
“Well allow me to welcome you to my humble abode brother, first and foremost. Good to see you again. Back where you belong…”
Fuck the pleasantries; the very fact that he was in Jimmy’s “apartment” pushed the urge to the precipice. Even after all the years, the jonesing was still strong. Like the urge of a serial killer to blood-lust, the mere minutes of waiting began to feel like hours.
Jimmy slowly pulled out a small baggie opened it and slowly begin to tap, tap, tap it onto the most unseemly of spoons imaginable.
“Is that shit clean Jimmy?”
“Trust me my friend, in a few minutes it won’t even matter.”
Jimmy placed the spoon over a bunsen burner. Back in the day it was solely zippo lighters or whatever other burning apparatus existed in the moment. Jimmy had moved up, snagged from an underfunded chemistry department no doubt, but industrious nonetheless. As the cooking commenced, Jimmy reached over with his free hand and pulled a needle off the table and placed it too in the blue flame of the Bunsen burner. As the preparation began to wind down, the anticipation was palpable. Jimmy pulled his belt off and tied it to his own arm. Before realizing what was taking place, Jimmy quickly placed the needle in his own arm. The blood squirted back into the syringe before he pushed the plunger all the way down and collapsed on the filth riddled floor.
“Jimmy! What the fuck! What about me?”
“Fuck that man. You’re clean. Just cause the bitch left you doesn’t mean you need to end up where I’m at…”
Monday, December 27, 2010
Ruffled hair, wrinkled two-button suit, his eye focused on his single malt, the faint smell of her hair engulfs his nasal passages as a sigh slowly escapes from behind his tobacco-stained teeth. It had been so long that he forgot. He couldn’t for the life of him remember how it came to this. Her green eyes used to focus upon him. A genuine glance of admiration and love lay behind her sultry soul shades as she used to whisper to him, that he was the only man for him. However, that was 8 years ago. He sits alone in the shoddiest of bars, sipping on his 4th straight drink, lost in the thoughts of the woman he once knew. Everything about her was all that was right with the world. Like a gift at Christmas, their love was pure hope and anticipation. The lust was good, but the understanding was great. As he reaches into the inside pocket of his suit, the bartender tells him that it is now last call, and also reminds him yet again that he can’t smoke in here. His hand reappears tightly clenching a crumpled and worn $20 bill, which he slowly places on the counter. The last of his money, meant for bus fare, was used instead on the generous spirits of a shitty bar. It was never meant to be this way. Sent to the Pelican Bay Correctional Facility, he had no way of even consoling her when they lost their child. They were going to name him Charlie after his favorite Uncle, a man who died too young and far too beloved. The innocence of their love had tainted itself in the filth of reality. Pure love, pure ecstasy in the arms of another; he had never experienced it before. Lost in the meandering fortunes of the concrete jungle, his eyes maintained on an unfocused path. But she set him straight. Her long dark hair, her slender frame, a petite nose, and cheeks adorned with the deepest of dimples, she was a vision that had slowly faded from his memory as the days went by. No matter how hard he tried to remember, the look of her face became more and more obscure as the days turned to weeks, weeks to months, months to years. All that remained were random remembrances of her scent and faded sounds of her erratic yet charming giggle. She was everything. And through the years the realization that he now has nothing began to eat at him. Her love is what he took for granted, and now it’s all he can hope for…but it’s too late. As the saying goes, time and tide wait for no man. And after 8 years even the most loyal of the loyal would have no reason left to stick around. Gone on her way, their memories she couldn’t keep from him. He tried to do the best he could, or so he convinced himself, but in the end, ego trumped her love and for that, he will never forgive himself, even if the great state of California had forgiven him for his other indiscretions.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Someone asked me the other day: Do you think you're smart? Not in a derisive manner, but posed as an honest question. My retort was a bit dismissive: My ass may be dumb, but I ain't no dumb ass (Courtesy of Quentin Tarantino via Elmore Leonard). However, in all honesty it got me to thinking. Do I really think I'm smart? Far from it. The only thing I know is that I know nothing, and that everyday is an adventure to find just a semblance of truth to what we, as a society, have allowed ourselves to become as individuals. You work a shit job, fine. You have friends who you drink and shoot the shit with, fine. Yet, through all the mundane and trivial trials of life, we've forgotten that which made us great as kids. To be curious, to not just seek an answer, but to understand why that answer is so. What is the truth? After all is knowledge not a reflection of that which we find to be true? Is not a hypothesis a query that allows for experiments to reflect that which is true? As we age, there is no quest to learn. We're too tired. We're too busy. We're too into something. Even the simplest of moments become jobs: eating, brushing your teeth, driving to work. A tribulation laced with no enjoyment as there is no quest to learn from it, only to get it done. The days crawled by when we were kids, yet now, even the dreariest and monotonous of days fly right by. We have fooled ourselves into thinking that there is nothing left to explore. When I see my nieces, all I see are quests for truth and knowledge. When she asks me if I'm joking with her, that is her quest to find the truth. 10 years from now, there will be no messing with her, for those moments of her trying to find out what I mean will be gone. Instead it will be on to the next text message, are on to the next DVR'd show. For now, it's the little truths and ideas that will compound themselves, letting her put aside the small realities and move on to the even bigger ones. A quest, that I myself need to remember. For truth, is my niece asking me if I know how to play UNO. And truth is my sister sitting in my dirty ass room for a half hour shooting the shit the day after I've had surgery. And truth is my ma, asking me when I'm gonna get married so that she can retire. Now if there is no knowledge to be found in that, then there is no point in dissecting a film, or underlining your favorite passage in that novel...cause if we don't stop to understand the little things, then the knowledge we gain is only half-assed. Almost as half-assed as asking the question: Do you think you're smart?