coveted dependency

i sent this to PANK and they said no, then they closed down a few months later. i was really sad about that. Pages Per Content published this in issue 23, which is a lucky number. immediately after i reread this in print, i hated it a lot.

Coveted Dependency
Troy Farah

An addict has more power than they let on. Somewhere, deep down inside that repulsive pit of human impulse, there exists a type of energy no sober person can ever realize. It is where ego and id are scrunched up so tightly they’re indistinguishable from one other; where fight and flight responses nurse their violet bruises, weeping some strange off-white fluid; where every other urge or plea is crushed and mangled, crop-dusted with toxic apathetic soot. So maybe I envy those with addictive personalities.

You remember all my futile attempts to become addicted. Stabs at heroin in stranger’s backseats, being drugged with meth when I thought I was swallowing MDMA, smoking packs of cigarettes in one sitting. But nothing. No free vacation cruise to rehab. No nervous breakdowns in the middle of Walgreens. No late night calls to my parents explaining what “freebasing” means and why I need a bail bond.

You never understood it, why I was chasing after some insane crutch, why I was disappointed with how (apparently) well-adjusted I was. Hell, you even joined me when we did a few lines in some commune bathroom, using your library card to cut up the powdery slivers we put up our head. But why would I want to be stuck there?

Maybe just to be stuck.

Maybe you remember the time we went to that old submarine sandwich shop and I took a few too many Percocet. Just enough over the recommended dosage to be truly free, just enough below the LD50. The walls of the bistro were crowded with thrift store finds and antique discount bin leftovers, a living wall of found objects and conversation pieces.

My bloodstream grew cozy with opioid bubbles and my eyes drifted amongst the detritus — shoes and bumper stickers and street signs and dolls. My food was untouched. I was ignoring you, flooded with numbness. You snapped your fingers at me. Why had I done this to myself?

Must be I dig the dream state fugue. We paid our tab, descending into a fierce desert hail storm, blinding white and cold and shrill. Then I puked in the street and the pills washed down the gutter and you shook your head at me and refused to let me kiss you.