l.b.noire 'filter (a.d.1993)'

     It was a Friday night.  For once, I didn't have to work the next day so it
left the night open for exploration of many kinds...  When I opened up the door
of my darkened apartment, the only thing I could see was the steady red light
of my answering machine -- it was serving its purpose.  I didn't turn on the
lights.  Instead, I closed the door behind me and locked it.  As soon as the
outside lights from the hall were blocked out, the street light filtering
through the blinds was the only source illuminating the room.  I set my
backpack on the bar that separated the kitchen from the living room.  It was
actually one large room, but the bar gave it the illusion of being two.  I
walked to the middle of the living room, took off my shoes, sat down and
crossed my legs.  The carpet was bare except for a small entertainment center
sitting flush against the wall.  In the entertainment center sat an aging
television, a half-working VCR, and an ad-hoc stereo with an add-on compact
disc player.  I crawled over to the television and turned it on.  After
flipping through several channels, I became bored and tapped the knob, turning
it off.  After that, I sought comfort from music.  However, the CD's I flipped
through brought back unpleasant memories since they were remnants of something
no longer there.  I laid on the floor staring up at the ceiling as my mind
started to tense up.  I had only been home five minutes and was already bored
into psychosis.

     After a few minutes, I crawled across the living room and into the narrow
hallway that served as a separation for the living room and the bedroom.  I
opened the closet and crawled in until I was sitting in front of the
footlocker.  I fished my keys from my pocket and opened the lock.  After
digging through teenage leftovers, I found what I was looking for.  I took out
the small bag crawled back into the middle of the living room.  I again sat
cross-legged and opened the bag.  I took out five hollow point bullets and the
.38 special.  I loaded all five bullets into the gun and pulled the hammer
back.  It looked like I would go through my daily ritual of trying to think of
all the reasons not to let the firing pin go forward for once.  I put the
barrel between my incisors and bit the metal lightly.  My index finger quivered
on the trigger with a tensed muscle.  I was hoping that if I did get the
courage to pull the trigger, my medulla would create a unique spray pattern on
the wall directly behind me.  It would be my posthumous contribution to the
world of art.  However, the usual thoughts ran through my head and the usual
tears ran from my eyes.  And as usual, I curled into a fetal position and fell
asleep on the floor with Gun still in my hand.

An angel floated to my side and whispered in my ear...

     The telephone beeped at me shortly after 10:00pm.  I staggered over to it
through the dark, trying to distinguish between reality and the fading bits of
a dream I was already forgetting.  I finally found the phone just before the
answering machine kicked on.  I pulled the antenna out and flipped the switch
to "talk."  The concerned voice on the other end was returning my call and made
an inquiry.  "Oh, nothing," I lied as I laid Gun on the bar.  We exchanged some
promises, but I picked up something else.  It would at least drive me until the
next weekend.  A voice of reassurance...  It would be best to leave the
sanctuary before Boredom settled in again.  I put on a white t-shirt and a
black pair of shorts then headed out the front door.  The night air was humid
causing my t-shirt to stick to my skin as if it was wet.

     I only lived two blocks off the main drag of town.  There were plenty of
bars, clubs and dives for me to choose from, but I always ended up in the same
one.  The crowd was familiar, the employees were familiar, and the chemicals
were familiar.  I walked through the front doors and exchanged some greetings
with the owner.  We were friends so I didn't have to worry about the cover
charge.  This meant I could save the five dollars for something with which to
squeegee my brain.  The music was so loud that it was unidentifiable.  I could
only feel the kick drum emanating from the speakers and resonating in my rib
cage.  I bought a bottle of cheap domestic beer and sat down on some stairs
while watching the crowd -- my favorite pastime.  Somewhere between my fourth
and fifth beer, I had pulled a couple of small capsules from my pocket and
swallowed them with the urine-colored drink.  I remembered something about not
mixing alcohol with barbiturates, but hardly concerned with this.  Actually, I
was interested in finding new perceptions by mixing different chemicals.
Shortly after midnight I was talking to a "friend" I only knew as Brandon.  For
some reason, he was also known as "Turnip" to some other people in the crowd.
We had managed to locate a couple of Al Hofmann's problem children.  At prime
time, we decided to head back to my apartment for some vein candy I had been

Last train to reality departing on Track 9...

     The walk back to the apartment was quite interesting.  It was a challenge
trying to keep the two of us together.  Brandon was convinced that "little
people" kept running out from under houses and biting his ankles only to run
back when he would look down.  I was convinced that police cars still looked
evil when filtered through synthetic ergot derivatives.  We eventually made it
back to the apartment without getting hit by a car or bus.  He just happened
(!) to have a strand of rubber tubing with him.  I just happened (!) to have a
few syringes and a vial of Demerol(TM) which I swiped from work.  I had no
previous experience with self-injection, but Brandon showed me the four simple
steps.  Within thirty minutes, we had both administered doses that were more
than likely above prescription level.  The first wave I fought against was the

     Somewhere over the next 36 hours, Brandon wandered back into the street.
I stayed in the apartment and decided to watch the criss-crossing color
patterns of my bedroom ceiling.  The television was fucked also up.  The red
light on my answering machine came to life with new vigor.  I tried to drink
something because my throat was dry, but I was having a hard time with the
glass.  This neon matrix is really interesting!

"Please don't take it for granted again..."

     A fresh stream of vomit emerging from my mouth woke me.  It mixed quite
well with the dry puddle on my pillow.  I was lying on my bed in only my
underwear.  I tried to stand but only fell to the ground in the attempt.  My
sense of balance was nowhere to be found.  I crawled into the bathroom and
leaned into the sink.  I turned on the cold water and rinsed my mouth.  The
fluorescent light was too harsh for my eyes, but I managed to focus them
slightly.  My pupils were quite dilated.  My throat was swollen and too
constricted for me to swallow much more than thin liquids.  I walked into the
kitchen with thanks to the wall.  A broken glass was scattered across the sink
and the cabinet top.  A small pool of blood was next the glass and was spread
onto the floor.  A previously full bottle of Gatorade was on its side.  Its
contents made the cabinet and floor quite sticky.  I walked over to the
answering machine and pushed the "play" button.  A few calls from a parent
feigning concern for my whereabouts, an occasional friend, a co-worker, and an
automated telemarketing machine wanting me to tour lakefront property in an
area that could probably only be reached by four-wheel drive.  I unplugged the
phone and went back into the bedroom.  I didn't know what day it was and didn't
care if I was supposed to be at work.  I crawled back into my bed and pulled
the comforter and a clean pillow over my head.  There were still little things
crawling up the walls and I wanted them to go away.  I just wanted _everything_
to go away.

The angel sat beside me and cradled my head as I left.
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