• I’m floating above the table, above my body, freebasing so hard that I’ve become a third-party, a casual observer of this trainwreck of a dinner.
    My Father is telling Stella to “Put-Some-Decent-Clothes-On”, and Mother is trying to cry and swallow handfuls of Prozac at the same time, but all she’s accomplished is a light, tearful dressing on her Waldorf salad.
    Stella, who will most likely be filing for divorce by morning, is throwing handfuls of ice from the champagne bucket across the table at Father, and I’m sitting to her left, feeling icy flecks that have escaped her hands land on my cheek. Mother sits across from me, still ruining a perfect salad, while I stare blankly at the cuff of my cheap Armani knock-off suit jacket, counting the loose threads.
    Stella directs her cries of injustice into my right ear, but I’m so numb I can’t even begin to comprehend the hundreds of different sounds and their attached symbols, all melting together to create Stella’s, probably meaningless, speech.
    I try to visualize the letters in my mind, but I get stuck on the letters ‘P’ and ‘E.
    I start to giggle, and only then do I realize that I’ve been drooling these last few minutes. Not enough to be noticed by my tablemates, but just enough that I feel slightly self conscious as I hurriedly wipe the steady stream of saliva from the left-hand corner of my mouth.
    The scene is coming back into focus. Distant rumblings become distinct sounds, words, a recognizable dialect. Dialect….dialect….dialect...’P’...’E’....
    Stella has been calling my name. Damn. What is she saying? I have to bite my tongue to focus.
    “...go to my brother’s. Raymond….Raymond are you listening?”
    There’s more of that wet sobbing sound. Like a hammer hitting flesh.
    Stella is crying.
    I ask her to repeat whatever it is she just said.
    She slaps me, hard, and pushes her chair back out from the table, knocking over several expensive glasses in the process.
    She storms out through the heavy mahogany front door, slamming it behind her. I hear a tinkling of glass.
    She’s probably shattered the stained-glass panelling. I’m going to have to call Fabio to restore it.

    The room is silent, except for a soft Brahms record floating in from the den. Goddamnit. I told Stella to turn the stereo off when she leaves the den.
    I decide to forgive her, because she’s a stupid b***h who is too simple to know any better.
    As soon as that thought enters my mind, I feel regret welling up in my lower intestine.
    Actually, that might be gastric acid buildup, but if I pretend it’s regret I’ll falls asleep exactly six minutes faster tomorrow night.
    Father clears his throat. I realize that I’ve once again been staring at my sleeve, silent.
    Mother reaches across the table, kerchief in hand, and lays her fist upon mine.
    I can feel the damp cloth through her fingers, warm, and I want to gag, audibly, but I know that will set her off once again.
    Father starts to lecture me on the benefits of marriage counseling, and how it will improve my sexless married life.
    He doesn’t know it’s sexless, but this feels like an appropriate time to bring it up.
    “Stella hasn’t touched my p***s, hand or mouth, in almost a year.”
    He grunts. Mother stops dry-heaving.
    Father continues to explain the counseling process, but my mind once again wanders. I can’t tell if Father is slightly drunk or if I’m slightly deaf, because all of his words begin to sound slurred and muted, as if he had a damp washcloth placed across his face.
    My eyes begin to water. It definitely wasn’t regret I was feeling in my stomach. It was the cheap Walmart-quality salmon dip I ingested three hours prior.
    I run to the toilet and vomit, then pass out.
    In the morning, my parents are gone, the champagne is flat, and there is a large, rather ominous manilla envelope on the counter, addressed to me by mine and Stella’s attorney.

    It’s the maid’s day off, so I have to pour my own juice. A day in the glorious life of the young venture capitalist. I reflect, only briefly, on the simple nature of my job: I give money to promising young MIT graduates and pray that the company stock I receive in return will one day be worth at least twice what I paid for it.
    I cut a line on the counter, and some spills on the carpet.
    Instinctively, I call out for the maid.
    It’s her day off.

    It’s almost noon.
    I decide to drive to work, and only after I arrive do I realize it’s a sunday. The parking lot is empty, except for what looks like the maintenance truck.
    I glance upwards at the towering office building, and I feel overwhelmed, like an ant underfoot.
    The glass-paneled giant reflects the light of what seems like one hundred thousand suns. I lower a pair of sunglasses over my eyes. I stole these ones from a K-mart downtown. The cheap plastic frame rubs uncomfortably against the already sore bridge of my nose.
    These shitty tinted lenses do nothing to dull the sun’s rays. I need a bump.

    Now I’m back in the car, trying to remember who will coke on a Sunday afternoon.
    I flip through the address book that I keep in my glove compartment, the fluttering pages creating a slight breeze that would blow my hair back if I hadn’t already weighed it down with a combination of mousse and gel.
    I find a name. Preston. Annaleigh Preston.
    Kelly is a woman’s name. I don’t remember ever buying blow from a chick.
    The name gets scratched out with a pen from the Ameribank on thirty-first street that I carry in my left breast-pocket, and then I search for another.
    I find a Cameron Calhoun.
    What a shitty name. He sells good coke though.
    I think.

    After turning down a number of side streets, each one as filthy and brown as the last, I find Cameron’s apartment, a defunct third-floor welfare crack den.
    I step out of my car, and an overwhelming sense of self-loathing washes over me, it paints me red.
    My vision is shifting.
    I can hear Satan breathing in my ear.
    I swallow a Prozac, and everything is okay.

    I feel my feet take me up the three flights of stairs.
    There’s no elevator.

    I can hear the news blaring from the television behind Cameron’s door.

    I knock.
    And I knock.


    Time is money, and I’d prefer not to waste either of those, so I push the door open, surprised that a dope dealer would leave his door open for visitors.

    Cameron is slumped over the back of his couch, surrounded by assorted liquor bottles and drug paraphernalia. I try to wake him, but to no avail. After shaking him hard enough, he rolls tumbles over the couch onto the floor and I see his face. I’m only a little shocked as to what I see.
    Cameron is obviously dead, his purple veins making their grand reveal from beneath his ghostly skin. His mouth is filled with a foamy, blood flecked liquid, which I am half tempted to put on a brownie and give to Stella as a “hip dessert”. It reminds me of a bubblebath.

    The harsh reality sets in for a moment. I realize that this could be me.
    I could keel over from one bump too many, just like every other junky in this city.
    Panics floods through my nervous system, and I think I might wet my pants, and then it passes.
    I take another Prozac from my shirt pocket and chew it up before swallowing, letting the rough chalk-like powder settle in on my gums. The grit makes me feel alive.

    And I still want coke. I’ve already come this far into town to get it, so I’m not going to leave without one gram at least.
    Now I’m rummaging, pillaging, raping a dead man’s home, his castle, and I find it.
    A small square cut out inside of the hall closet.
    I pry it open with my weak fingernails and out comes six glorious, shrink-wrapped bags of Bolivian Marching Powder, pure as the driven snow.
    My mouth begins to water, as do my eyes from the dust in the air.

    The Prozac is begins to take effect, and my vision starts to warp.

    Wait, this is the opposite of what should be happening.
    I root around my shirt pocket for the baggie.

    This aren’t Prozac.
    It’s LSD.

    I settle down for the trip, realizing that it’s too late to turn back.

    time ceases to have any meaning and I’m floating through the building, lifted by an angel into a spacecraft, taken into the sky and all around are beautiful women serving me champagne and where’s my s**t cameron? and I’ve got it right here and don’t hold out on me again or I’ll take your tongue and my tongue feels so heavy in my mouth and why do I need this pink beast when I can just grunt like a caveman and wouldn’t that make the world a better place if we all could communicate on the same level?

    Time passes, as it always has.

    I’m sitting in a plane, and swiveling in my seat.
    Normal planes don’t have swivel seats.
    Or cocaine by the brick on a table in front of you.
    I glance at my watch. It’s 6:45 PM, Monday.
    There’s a man across from me, wearing an authentic Armani suit, with a gold Rolex and a $150 haircut.
    He keeps calling me Cameron.
    He thinks I’m Cameron.

    “Cameron, you take these two bricks as a start-up gift, from me to you”

    I need a ginger-ale.
    I call out for the maid.

    The man tells me to shut the hell up and what the ******** is up with you?

    He’s pushing my duffle bag across the table to me.
    I don’t remember giving him my duffle bag.

    I feel out of control, like a puppet on strings, with no control of my limbs.

    Something makes me take those two packages, the bricks.
    I don’t want these.

    I just want to do a line and watch a centipede crawl through the garden.
    I want to sit in a Denny’s parking lot and snort blow until my heart explodes in a beautiful moment of absolute certainty of my place in the universe.
    But it’s not my decision anymore.
    The puppet must listen to the master.

    I’m slipping away again, entranced by the news of WMD’s playing in the background.

    The plane is gone.
    I’m sitting in my car outside of a gravel refinery plant, with no sense of how I got here, or where time has taken me now.

    My phone is vibrating, ringing.
    It’s Stella.
    I’ve been gone almost three days now.

    I know that I cannot make a believable excuse to get out of the hellfire headed my way, so I pick up the phone and manage to spit out, softly, “Time flies, baby”, and I throw my phone out of the passenger side window, watching it fall deep into a gravel reclamation pit.

    That divorce seems very appealing right about now.