Fiendin’ for the Witch
By Jon Vreeland
I watched her from across the room. She appeared fidgety; the same way that I was feeling despite how much Xanax I had taken. I was sitting with my arms crossed. Staring from the black holes in my head as if nobody was watching – sipping my coffee and trying to stay awake. AA meetings bored the shit out of me; but I had nothing else to do that day. Plus, I furtively enjoyed the shitty coffee. Doesn’t matter what it is…if it is free, I’ll take it.
I was living across the street at a halfway house on Oen Street. Another feeble attempt to get sober. I had reached the thirty-day mark the week before and decided to celebrate with a shot of heroin. A self-promised, one-time of getting high was now approaching an entire week. It was only a matter of time before the manager of the halfway house handed me a cup and asked me to piss. Then it would be back to the streets. Back to long nights of hiding on rooftops, creeping around Huntington Beach until I found a place to hide out for the night, or the cops got me, and took me in for whatever reason they could find. I was an easy target. If they weren’t able to find anything on me, they knew that drawing my blood was a for sure win.
The meeting ended. I was standing outside smoking a cigarette when she came up to me and asked for a light…
“Got a staring problem?” she said with a smile.
“Yeah I guess so,” I said lighting her smoke.
“What’s your name cutie?”
“Haley. Nice to meet you,” she said staring right into my eyes.
She was older by only a couple years. She was beautiful. Her hair was black and she wore a black leather jacket, black jeans, and black boots. Underneath the jacket – a Cramps T- shirt, cut to her liking. She lived across the street on Garfield Ave. “We should hang out some time” she said. We both agreed that now was a good time, so we walked across the street, arriving at her apartment in less than five minutes. This was perfect. I didn’t want to live in that house on Oen anymore, and I knew that she needed my company as much as I needed hers.
“I fucking hate those meetings,” she said.
“Yeah me too. I only go for the coffee and to meet chicks,” I said with a grin.
“Oh I bet you do stud. Looks like you scored today didn’t you.”
“Big time. When should I bring my stuff over? I don’t have much.”
“Oh you’re good,” she said as she walked into the bathroom and left the door open. I could hear the sweet hiss of a vagina urinating. I walked over to the bathroom door and watched her pee. She blew me a kiss, and started laughing – triggering a smile from my grim, sucked up face.
When she was done peeing, she opened up her cabinet and pulled out a charming little black case. I had one just like it except hers had pentagrams drawn on it with red lipstick. The insides of these cases are always the same: a couple of syringes, a burnt spoon or two, and brownish stains on the inside. Like somebody had wiped their ass with it. It was beautiful. Just like her. From the moment I started talking to her, it was as if I had known her all of my life.
“I’m assuming you want one of these?” Haley said holding up a little clear baggy stained black on the inside.
“How did you know?”
“Lucky guess.” She winked at me, then pulled out her withered spoon.
We went to the living room and sat Indian style in the middle of the floor. The ritual is the best part. We both seemed to have the same traditions, the traditions of a professional junky. As soon as we sat down neither of us had on a shirt, our black Doc Martens were thrown to the side, and our belts were off.
“I don’t think I have to ask if you mind a little coke in your shot as well.”
“I never turn down a drug, even if I don’t like it,” I said smiling. She told me I was the poster child for the “heroin chic” category and I took that as a compliment. I always wanted to look like Johnny Thunders – the guitar player for the band, New York Dolls – and as far as becoming a junky like him, I had succeeded. But as far as music, the only thing I had done lately was a single with a band called The Pushers, who broke up after we played two shows. Being a Super Junky was all that I had going for me at the time, and the blessed curse of looking like one – which the girls I hung around found appealing. It was the only world I felt comfortable in. Even when I would turn blue, waking up soaked in my own urine, at God knows where.
There was a sense of tranquility Haley carried that I was extremely envious of. Maybe she was numbed by the dope? Or maybe it was the Satanic Bible she read on a daily basis, which she kept next to her bed, on her red and black nightstand? I would watch her pick up the Bible, read it for a minute, then put it back down in the same spot. She was reading a scripture, reminding herself of something the book had been telling her. Haley practiced witchcraft, but hardly spoke of it. She was strong. I was weak; but she loved me anyways. She knew that I needed her, and there was no doubt she needed me too.
I began staying there right away. We both enjoyed each other’s company, and both had just lost somebody we really loved and were love sick. A broken heart is far worse than being dope sick. I had lost her. She had lost him – a Hell’s Angel who I constantly watched out the window for. Awaiting the beating of a lifetime, or worse. We fell in love as friends from day one and were nursing each other’s broken hearts. I wanted to love her more like a girlfriend, but I couldn’t. She and I both knew that was not our connection. But she was great and was perfect in a world where the only prescription for love sickness is heroin and sex, and lots of it. Anything else was a waste of time.
About a week later, I asked her if I could bring a friend over. A girl that I met at the same meeting about a month before I met Haley. Her name was Cat. She was a drummer. Her hair was blonde and her eyes sparkled like pearls. Every day she wore black, with white Ray-Ban sunglasses. Cat and I were talking about starting a band because everything we had done lately had gone to shit. Haley played the bass. We had everything we needed. Plus, all three of us were active junkies so that was a bonus as well. When she came over to talk about the band, we ended up getting high instead. The only thing we talked about next was having a threesome. This was a band I had always dreamed of – a band with horny chicks, punk rock, and heroin.
Later on that night – after I snuck a secret shot with Cat in the bathroom – I started turning blue while sitting on the toilet of Haley’s red painted bathroom…
I landed inside a deep well. Where your eyes never adjust to the dark. Staring into nothing. It’s darker than one hundred shades of black. Where you can’t see your hand in front of your own face. It’s not hot; it’s not cold; you’re alone. Just you. Slumbering in purgatory. Waiting to wake up or die.
…When I woke up my pants were soaking wet. Cat was crying and hugging me over and over. Haley was standing above me smiling, shaking her head. I went out when we did our “secret shot,” and all that Cat could do was flap her arms like a baby bird trying to fly. If Haley hadn’t have been there to shove ice cubes down my pants – and up my ass – I was a goner. She stood smiling – that calm sense of serenity I envied.
. . .
When I couldn’t score any heroin, I would do shots of crystal-meth. Haley didn’t use crystal-meth, but I would do anything; so occasionally we were on different levels. She couldn’t handle that part of me, and when I was too much for her she would rather be alone – which was my biggest fear. After a couple of days of insanity, Haley would need a good night’s sleep so she would drive me to Michelle’s house – my friend’s neighbor on Alabama and Baltimore, whom I had met when they had thrown me out one night as well – then pick me up the next day after work and bring me back home. My state of psychosis was something that could not be ignored, and getting worse by the day. I was eventually being traded every other night like the child of divorced parents. Although I was getting laid by both, it felt like nobody wanted me around. That feeling was causing my insanity to climb to places I never knew existed, and had never been before. It was the fear of being alone that was sending me over the edge. A dreadful place of solitaire.
I had been talking about a group of vampires that were lurking outside every time the sun went down, engaging in an orgy, drinking each other’s blood. Creatures that would follow me after sundown, and wait outside. And while I ran, I thought of my kids – the only ones I trusted and cared about more than anything on the planet. They were more important to me than God, but I had put myself out of reach, and had no idea how it happened, or why.
One night, I was playing the guitar, serenading her to sleep, staring out at the Vampires – in the same tree they were always in, swaying and laughing in their orgy – when I saw a silhouette sitting on the wall of the patio, right outside the window next to the bed where we occasionally slept, but mostly used for fucking. A silhouette without a face. Not moving. Saying nothing. Smoking a cigarette, waving with inimitable and penetrating sarcasm.
“Haley someone is here.”
“Who?” she said opening one eye, laying naked on the bed.
“I don’t know.”
“Where are they?”
“Right there on the wall, smoking a cigarette.”
Haley jumped up naked from the bed and walked right over to the window. “There is nobody fucking there, go to sleep!” She was not in the mood for my hallucinations; or anything involving keeping her awake. She closed the window, lay back down and pulled me down with her. “You sure know how to ruin a moment don’t you. That was beautiful. What you were playing was putting me to sleep and you fucked it up by being a fucking spaz. Now go to sleep, I gotta get up at 6am.”
I continued watching the silhouette, the orgy. She knew they were there, but didn’t fear them like I did. She knew I was the only one that could see them. The Vampires didn’t scare me, but the lone, strange silhouette, had me clutched up against her as tight as I could – sleep merely impossible – wallowing in fear of what it might do to me the minute I closed my eyes. I wanted to make love to Haley. I wanted to derail my paranoia to something more congenial than a stranger, staring from its red beady eyes. I was in a sleepless nightmare with a naked woman, a pack of cretins, a faceless silhouette…and no way out. I was terrified. I was sure I was going to die, in the bed of a witch, and it was not going to be painless, but long and torturous. No mercy from the faceless demon, who was now showing its black feathered wings, and eyes the color of rubies, sparkling in the starless, moonless night.
Behind this winged creature, the vampires continued on – about ten of them. They came every night; putting on a show for only me. Fucking each other until blood spewed out of their mouths, and faces faded to a gorgeous white. Sometimes, so gorgeous, I wanted to climb outside and join them. Two of them particularly caught my attention. A guy and a girl, wearing purple and black. The guy had blond hair, stretched down to his chin. The girl had burgundy hair that hung over her pale face and matched the blood that poured from their mouths as they fucked. They were impeccably sexy and showed an obvious connection to a world where God was the Devil, and the Devil held the supremacy of God. They were so beautiful. Not just them, but every last one of them.
Unlike the silhouette, they were not there to hurt me, or cause me harm; they were just there. After seeing them for the third night in a row, I knew they were for my eyes only. The eyes of a lunatic, waltzing alone in the underworld, where even my own friend, a possible witch, would not go.
The silhouette’s ruby eyes were getting larger. I tried to focus on the vampire orgy but the fear wouldn’t let me. I was waiting for the silhouette to come crashing through the window. To do me in, then fuck Haley while she slept – marinating her in blood that spilled from my neck on to her naked body.
I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t move. It was staring at me while I squeezed her tighter and tighter. Finally, I was squeezing so hard, she sat up and saw the look on my face – the look of terror – so she got up and looked outside, then lay back down and started to laugh.
“What’s wrong babe?” she said smiling as she closed her eyes.
“You don’t see them?”
“Them!! And that thing sitting on the wall.”
She sat up and looked again. “Nope. Nothing at all. You’re fuckin’ trippin’ dude.”
“No I’m not mama. There was someone sitting on that wall smoking a cig.”
“Well it’s gone now. Please go to sleep or I am taking you to Michelle’s.”
Michelle’s was the last place I wanted to go. She was crazier than me, and I couldn’t handle her sex drive, at least not lately. I knew it wasn’t safe. Wherever I went wasn’t safe. That night, I was certain I was going to die, no matter where I went, no matter where I tried to sleep. I was hiding under the covers – waiting to be killed – when Haley got up and grabbed her purse and keys and told me to get up.
“Come on, I’m taking you to Michelle’s.”
I got up, closed my eyes, as she held my hand and guided me to her red Chevy Blazer parked on Garfield Ave.
. . .
We drove down Beach Boulevard, heading downtown, when I finally opened my eyes. It was quiet: no radio, no talking. Just the swish of the tires on the wet street from the night’s sporadic rain. I reached in my pocket, pulled out my Camels and lit one with the black lighter that was lying in the center console. I didn’t want to go to Michelle’s apartment. It was a studio apartment in a complex filled with my friends, less than a quarter mile from the beach. I didn’t want to see anybody; I knew I was crazy; and I knew the silhouette was waiting.
I was thinking about the walls of her apartment, and how they were covered with mirrors, antique mirrors her Grandmother had given her. There were so many mirrors. She would always be talking to me with her back turned, while looking in my eyes; but I could never find hers. I only saw what I didn’t want to see. Strange faces watching my every move as I crept naked around the room. I would try not to look but it was impossible. The thought of being there was making me sick. We were sitting at a red light and I needed to vomit. It was stirring in my stomach and coming up. I thought of jumping out of the car, but I grabbed the blue bag by my feet and puked in it instead. I puked two or three more times, then got a fist to the side of the head.
“You fucker that’s my fucking purse!!!!!”
“Fuck sorry,” I said with vomit dripping down my chin.
“Are you ok? Fuck, what the fuck!?!” She kept yelling.
“I said sorry, shut the fuck up!”
Then another fist to the head. I was so startled that I grabbed the puke filled purse and jumped out and started running down Beach Boulevard towards downtown where Michelle lived. After about a hundred feet, I realized I had just stolen my friend’s purse, something that was not my style. I never stole from friends or family, and the people who did, I wasn’t fond of. But I didn’t want to stop – the feeling when you already do something wrong and are scared to face the music. I wasn’t going to take her purse so I threw it straight in the air without stopping. The purse dismembered, showering the sidewalk and street with everything that a woman holds in her purse: money, make-up, little pieces of trash, cigarettes, needles, spoons, lighters, drugs, tampons, bracelets, check books, maxed out credit-cards, pens, and phone. All covered in my lime green vomit with little red chunks of clotted blood.
I ran two miles to Michelle’s. Running from everything that crawled in my head. I never turned around to see if Haley or anybody else was chasing me. I stayed on Beach and ran through red lights while cars honked at me, jokingly and out of frustration of me getting in their way. I knocked on the door and she answered, naked. Her damp olive skin shining as the water dripped from her hair, down her naked body and on to the floor.
“Hey babe. What’s wrong?” she said looking concerned; but I couldn’t speak. I was out of breath and needed to sit down and try and relax. Get my head straight, or at least try. She took my hand and guided me into her apartment full of mirrors. I wouldn’t look up. I was just looking at her, focusing on her breasts, starting to get horny.
“Let’s fuck,” she said.
“Let’s fuck like we did the other day.”
“Sure you can. I’ll help you.”
“I can’t,” I said still panting. “Give me some time. Plus I don’t even know you.”
“What? What the fuck? You don’t know me? Well fuck you then Johnny.”
“Do I? Fuck! I’m sorry I don’t know what the fuck is going on!?”
“Come here and sit, sit with me.”
She looked gorgeous. The water still dripped down her silky smooth skin, as she started to play with herself. I sat and I stared. Ignoring the mirrors, the faces, myself. After a few minutes I was calm. She continued to play with herself while I just watched – not looking around once – keeping my eyes and mind just on her. I was nowhere. I felt nothing. Then the strange woman and I made love, as dozens of strangers watched, from the other side of the glass.
About the Author
Jon Vreeland was born in Long Beach California and raised by his parents in Huntington Beach, where he became an accomplished musician and struggled with addiction most of his life. His writing paints a picture of the struggles he faced and eventually overcame. Vreeland now resides in Santa Barbara where he attends City College and is the father of two beautiful daughters.