by Kim MacDonald
The thought of his impending night excites him as he drives from work. The cash in his wallet forms a bulge between the leather seat and his body, serving as a reminder of his destination. His guilty mind remembers–wife wants a new washing machine, his two kids are starting school, and his gas tank is almost empty. However, his urge is too strong to deny. He has to get his fix tonight.
Like a true junkie his body shakes with adrenaline as he pulls up to the old building on the wrong side of town in the neon lined corridor. A small group of people stand next to a dumpster in the parking lot. The twenty-something year old men wear jeans and baseball hats and the younger looking women are scantily dressed. These are people he would never interact with in his nine-to-five world. He gets out of his brown Mercedes in his expensive suit and tie and they all stare. He knows he is not the typical customer here, so the stares do not bother him. His perfectly coiffed hair and expensive cologne give no indication of the destructive behavior underneath. The smell of marijuana and cigarettes blows in the breeze and one person bravely asks, “ Hey man, you straight?”
He impatiently waves the question off with his hand as he walks past the group. He readies himself in the parking lot by turning off his phone and puffing on a Marlboro. He flicks the bud onto the sidewalk and walks around to the front of the brick building with graffiti sprayed on the side. He knows his addiction has spiraled out of control, but he cannot stop himself, nor does he want to. The needle seems to fix the part of him that is broken and sedates his whirling mind. He reassures himself that he is ok because he has meticulously hidden the apparent signs of his addiction by his five days a week uniform of starched white shirts and suits.
He enters the familiar building where signs are hung on the wall in disarray. He glances at the hand drawn pictures of unique images from minds of the possibly insane while walking towards the back. He looks for Willy, the man that gave him his first high and keeps him coming back for more. He finds him in the back corner slumped over a table with a pencil in his hand. Willy looks up and says, “What up, you ready?”
Trying to contain his excitement the man in the business suit replies, “I’ve been waiting for this all week. Ya, I’m ready.”
“You come here a lot. Thanks for the business.”
The business man jokes “Ya. This shit’s my only escape right now.”
Their ritual is perfectly choreographed from months of practice. They both sit down on the black vinyl chairs and the business man slowly rolls up the sleeve from his dry cleaned shirt. The marks from the past are permanently etched on his arm. There is only one spot that is not used up by the needle. Everything else has been disfigured. Willy picks up the needle and the mechanical sound starts. With anticipation and awe he waits for his fix and watches as Willy gives him the last tattoo that can fit on his left forearm.
About The Author
Three years divorced, two grown children, full time college student, part time CNA, maniacal writer. Kim is blindly navigating her way through the maze of life with daily stops at her computer. The blinking cursor and active screen are her necessary therapy.