She perches on the rim of the monstrous porcelain bathtub and slaps the crook of her Auschwitz-thin arm, trying to raise one pastel green subcutaneous thoroughfare. Stick it in, stick it in, stick it in. Find the blood. The shouts and screams of alley kids vibrate the rank fizzy air. A fat fly swoops through the brick-propped window, exits disappointed. All you have to do is hump one tiny blood vessel with this tiny but extra-sharp metal dick. Like a heron hunting fish she sticks the syringe in over and over, smearing blood all over the place, impossible to see what's what. Fucking skinny veins. Almost as fine as the needle itself. There are other places, but not sure how to do that. Under the tongue, along the belly, back of the hand, in the neck. Focus, fucking focus! Time is running out. Stomach's growling, brain's aching. Gonna shit my panties in a sec.
He pops his head in and says, "You want help with that?" snatching the soot-blackened bottlecap. "LEAVE ME ALONE! FUCKING LET ME HAVE TWO MINUTES PEACE FOR GOD'S SAKE!" The creep withdraws, slamming the door.
Beads of sweat, or are they tears, drop a million miles to the floor while an amazingly busy cockroach scuttles out from under the tub and licks unaware, of course, of how rare this stuff is, packed with molecules of private stock Issey Miyake perfume and this morning's wake-up dose of diacetylmorphine not to mention the hormones and pheromones of one of the most beautiful girls in the world. And does the bug give a shit? No. Probably all tastes the same.
The most beautiful girl in the world mashes the bad cockroach under her Manolo and spies the promised land. A vein running just south of her sculpted ankle. Could do that. She grabs her own calf, leaning way forward, and slides in the stainless, careful not to go too far and puncture the opposing vein wall. Yeah, that works, that works.
Set the trigger, cock it, the little red bomb of blood blooms up into the clear barrelful of puro. Satisfied with all the intravenous arrangements, she thumbs the plunger, gives the universe a hard shove and it all comes down like a tsunami crushing a beach. In three seconds the heroin runs from ankle to heart and back out to the reticular formation, the hypothalamus, the thalamus, the cerebral hemispheres, showering the cerebral cortex with an ecstatic saturation of opiates and she thinks, OK, gotta get organized. The relief of knowing the dope will arrive is almost as big a high as the dope itself. Then bam, the tidal wave hits and she's rolling in the drug surf, upside down, all around, lost in the biggest washing machine of ecstasy and perfection known. No thought. No nothin'. She forgets to sit up straight and tilts toward the dingy, dust ball, hair ball, cockroach carcassed, shit floor. Now if everyone will please look out the right side of the cockpit you'll see the underside of the toilet passing by. Notice how junkie urine has oozed down through the bowl-sweat like streaks of yellow paint, dripping down and then drying away, forming a small brown puddle beneath the sweating stinking pissoir. Please fasten your seatbelts, we'll be landing soon.
She attains Superwoman eyes and Superwoman knowledge for exactly five seconds. Almost has the foresight to pull the spike out of her ankle before crossing the tipping point and falling onto her photogenically flawless face, though she does avoid the disgusting floor by cracking her most perfect skull on the porcelain with an act of great acrobatic skill, spinning and landing on her back.
She lifts her head and pukes onto her brand-new A/X tank top. She feels really great. Before she passes out, she thinks, I wanna go home.
Eric Bogosian is the author of Mall, the plays Talk Radio, subUrbia and Griller, and the Obie Award-winning solo performances Drinking in America, Pounding Nails in the Floor with My Forehead and Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll. He is the recipient of the Berlin Film Festival Silver Bear Award, a Drama Desk Award, and two NEA fellowships. An actor who has appeared in more than a dozen feature films and television shows, Bogosian lives in New York City.
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