Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man." -Mercutio

It's another warm, sunny day in Southern California and I find myself somewhat grateful to be alive in order to witness this magnificent day with all of my five senses.  With a winter like this, who really needs summer?  I won't go so far as to allege that I am lucky or even blessed to be here when so many people around the world are experiencing record-breakingly cold and blistery winters.  Because as an avid atheist and constant detractor of all things religious or spiritual,  I cannot bring myself to make such silly and uninspired declarations.

But in the wake of a death, a death of someone I actually sort of knew, I will say that I do feel somewhat glad to be alive.  After all, what's the alternative?  Death, and the infinite nothingness and utter emptiness that it offers by nothing more than the virtue of what it is?  No thank you.  I'll take it graciously when that time comes but I am in no way looking to hasten the inevitable.  In my mind, that's an absolutely ludicrous endeavor.  I'd rather enjoy the hedonistic benefits of life while I am still capable of such enjoyment.  Call me an asshole, call me insensitive, call me a nihilist with personality disorder, I don't care, but the pleasures of the flesh are pretty much what makes this life worth living.  Testify motherfuckers!

A few days ago one of my law professors died.  She killed herself according to the papers.  She was young too, relatively so.  I've discussed this at length with friends and acquaintances who knew her as well or if not better than I did.  We all seem to be in relative agreement that it was a very uncharacteristic and poorly decided choice on her part.  And even now as I write these words I am unconvinced that suicide was the true cause of her death.  In fact, I am going to privately aver that there was something else a brew here.  Though I will not be making such bold claims in a legal forum, I do believe that someone may have provided a helping hand, if you catch my drift.  But that is a tangent unbecoming of this particular post.

If this was a suicide, as many have now come to believe and accept wholeheartedly, then depression must have been the driving force, the overwhelming factor in all of this.  Though I've never really understood depression, I do accept it as a recognized disease as I have known many people who have outwardly claimed possession of it.  Still, this particular lady seemed above reproach in many ways, and therefore I cannot believe that she actually succumbed to the weakness and devastation that depression seems to always necessitate.  There was just so much going right in her life.  Unlike the majority of us, myself included, who are self-proclaimed losers, she was by all accounts a winner.

As I understand it, she had children, young ones at that who were still very much in need of the benevolent and positive impressing force of a mother in their lives.  It's their mere existence that makes it hard for me to believe that she would actually kill herself.  For someone as indisputably intelligent as she was, I think it should have been pretty apparent and nonnegotiable that her children would become seriously fucked up as a result of the suicide of their mother.  Quite assuredly, now thoughts of inadequacy will run through their heads in infinite repeat for as long as they both shall live.  That pretty much goes without saying.  So why then would someone so smart and rational do something so selfish?  This is precisely why I remain unconvinced.

What's more, and I cannot stress this enough, the manner in which she committed this alleged suicide was violent to the utmost degree.  In fact, I can think of probably a hundred better, less painful ways to go for someone so inclined.  It's a damn shame and I don't declare that very often.  Typically, women who attempt suicide opt for the less painful ways to go, i.e. drugs, drowning or even the noose.  Few take a plunge off a merely six story high structure that will not assuredly or quickly end the life in question.  It makes my bones hurt just thinking about it.

Still, description of her death and pity for her children are not the reasons why I'm writing this post.  Her death has actually gotten me thinking about a long-forgotten concept, something that I came up with a long, long time ago but necessarily allowed to relapse into the recesses of my mind as I grew older and less philosophically inclined.  The idea of the fatal flaw.

As one might imagine, just by virtue of her career as a law professor, this woman was smart, insanely so.  In fact, I believe she was one of the smartest people that I ever had the pleasure of speaking with and learning from.  And it has been this great intelligence of hers that got me thinking once again about fatal flaws and the people who unfortunately possess them, the people who find themselves inextricably attached to them.

It seems like all the great people, the people who have some kind of enviable talent, the ones who will go down in history as something fiercely special, have at least one fatal, insurmountable flaw.  And the more impressive the talent, the more likely that flaw in question will end up proving truly fatal in the long run.  I believe that's what has occurred here.

Though I hate to be overly derivative, there does seem to be a common pattern, an undeniable theme that has repeated itself over and over throughout the course of history.  I am saddened by this tragedy and I do find it to be quite a shame, but a part of me does realize that it might have been part of a crucial cycle, an essential regime that has probably existed ever since the first human beings stood upright and walked this planet.

These flaws that I speak of, the fatal ones that only the truly intelligent and magnificently talented possess, though I hate to say it, might actually be essential to guard humanity against a race of super humans.  It might be in society's best interest for certain insanely talented people to have untenable demons to grapple with.  After all, if there were nothing to distract them, these superb people would rule the world, no doubt about it.  Though some may be benign, as this law professor surely was, it stands to reason that others would be tyrants, and we can't have that.

As an aside I feel I must back up and define "super" in this particular context.  By super I hardly mean supernatural.  What I mean is that if these very talented people were able to live whole and fulfilled lives, completely unfettered and unweighed down by fatal flaws to contend with, their insane intelligence and enviable talents would soon give them the ability to take over the planet and everything in it.  There would be nothing that the regular, non-gifted people could do about it.  So in order to prevent chaos and keep the essential order, these super-talented, intelligent people must have a fatal flaw or two that necessarily captures all of their attention and eventually leads them strictly to their ultimate demise.  Otherwise there would be complete anarchy, and not the good kind; not the kind that I have always encouraged and outwardly touted.

In the case of the law professor I speak of, it seems as though despite her enviable intelligence, she fell to a disease almost as old as time.  Depression.  Even though she kept it largely to herself, she was obviously bogged down by it and that meant that she was never able to reach her full potential.  To be honest, I feel as though she should probably have had the means and drive to overcome it, being as intelligent, self-aware and proud as she was, but then again, I was never inside her head and I don't truly know what it is like to suffer from such a disease.  I generally get that depression can be crippling and unbearable at times, but I still have to think that for as smart and intuitive as she was, she didn't fully understand the implications of her choice. Now she never will.

In conclusion, she did a lot of good and helped a lot of people, but her life was nevertheless definitively and tragically cut short.  Call it what you want; despite all this, I would still call it a shame.

Rest in the Peaceful Nothingness of Nonexistence, Professor.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Golden-Brown Reverie of 5 Years Gone

The coldish air blowing in from the open window is trying to irritate my skin by creating gooseflesh and making me shiver, but I have become immune from all annoying and childish pranks. I am warmed on the inside and the out; the cold cannot get in and even if it could, it could not manage to bother me in this pleasant state. I feel happy that the cold outside is failing to bother me. It makes me feel considerably powerful and peaceful in an indescribable and unapproachable sort of way. Nothing can touch me now. These intense feelings of delightful numbness, both mind and body, overwhelm me, but in a positive way that makes me smile lazily with extreme satisfaction. Never have I been more content, more at peace with the entire world and my nonnegotiable place within it. This is my acceptance of everything that has ever been thrown upon me, nature and nurture alike. I have absolutely no complaints.

It is inarguable that bad things happen all the time and all around us. There is no getting around that fact and no way to mitigate its often treacherous effects. The trick is to survive the bad things when they do occur so that we may see the good ones when or if they decide to grace us with their presence. In my experience the good things are almost always overshadowed by the bad. But that may just be my ‘glass half empty’ outlook on life. I’m not above admitting that. Still right now, the glass is entirely full.

I’ve used recreational substances quite unrestrictedly over the years to assuage the realities of the world and I must say that no drug is more successful at helping me forget the potentially unforgettable than heroin. I'd call it a godsend if I believed in god. Right now I'm almost persuaded to because all of those bad things that have happened and continue to happen seem utterly irrelevant to me. At least I am still alive and cognitive; nothing has succeeded in killing me at this point. That is the very definition of progress. And in spite of all the hopelessness and despondency rife in this world, I still find myself basking in the warm cocoon of oblivion, not feeling a single wretched feeling whatsoever. That means this is working; it always works. It’s a constant in my life that I never have to wonder about. I love it. In this moment, everything is perfect. I am perfect.

My phone suddenly begins to ring, effectively jarring me out of my heroin-inspired reverie and distinct thoughts of wonderful nothingness. Damn it. I lean over to retrieve it. The caller ID claims that it is my friend calling though I am always somewhat suspicious of what technology wants me to believe. Nevertheless I decide to answer the call, though somewhat reluctantly because I really don't feel like talking to anyone at this moment. I will just dispose of the conversation quickly in order to get back to my basking.

Yeah, I answer softly in a decibel just above a whisper. My friend immediately wants to know if I am planning on attending our five year high school reunion planned for tonight. I wasn't even aware our school celebrated five year reunions! Certainly I am uninterested in attending one. I reply in the negative, honestly relaying to her that I have absolutely no interest in seeing any of the possible guests. Why would I want to go mingle with a bunch of kids that I was essentially ambivalent toward back in high school? They surely haven’t gotten any better or more tolerable over the years. Things don’t change in five years, they barely change in fifty.

My friend tries to convince me to reconsider but the idea of spending time with people who will just feign niceties and talk about their pathetic accomplishments doesn't really seem like an all that attractive night for me. I'd rather rail off another line and lay here on my bed in a dreamy, inspired state of reverie, looking up at my ceiling and wondering if the popcorn white finish actually contains cancerous asbestos. This building has at least been here since the late seventies. It’s entirely possible that it possesses some kind of carcinogenic material. I think about researching what a lawsuit might entail in this regard.

Are you listening to me, my friend inquires over the line. I respond in the affirmative though I have no idea what question was just posed. Well then, will you go to the reunion with me, she impatiently wants to know. I sigh and roll my eyes unnecessarily given our current mode of communication. All the people from high school that I care to see, I already see, I tell my friend with cavalier indifference as I shrug and look upward at the ceiling once again. I am growing impatient with this conversation and my inextricable role in it. I want to get past this discussion as quickly as possible. But she insists that I go with her and even offers to pick me up and drive me there, an enticing offer that she knows could easily hook me for the long haul.

There will be plenty of people to mock surreptitiously, she adds, trying to sweeten the deal even further. My friend does know how to persuade me. I sigh and consider the new proposal. While I do somewhat loathe the idea of keeping company with kids that I found uninteresting as teenagers, I hardly ever turn down an invitation to an adventure that a designated driver has already been assigned to chaperone. This leaves me free to get incredibly high and possibly even unlock my typically very closed-off mind. It might not be so bad under these new guidelines.

Alright fine, I agree hesitantly, still sort of hoping that she will back out and allow me to hibernate here in my room for the rest of the night. I hardly think that I garner that kind of luck but I’m not averse to hoping for it. She informs me that she will be by in about an hour to pick me up and that I better be ready to go. I respond with a nonchalant assent to the terms and then I abruptly end the call. An hour gives me plenty of time to revel in the warmth of my newfound euphoria. This drug has been quite nice to me for years. I don't deserve it but I won't let on. It will be our little secret.

* * * * *

A knock on my front door causes me to jolt up and open my eyes. I look around and quickly recall that my friend was supposed to come by and pick me up for our high school reunion. I must have nodded off for a bit. I hear another knock on my door, this one more persistent than the last. I roll my eyes and climb out of bed. She's going to be irritated that I am not ready to go but she'll deal with it because I’m sort of doing her a huge favor just by virtue of agreeing to go with her.

I answer the door with a lazy smile and a half-assed greeting. Come in, I offer drowsily. Why aren't you ready, she immediately complains upon laying eyes on me. I am about to respond with something derogatory but she cuts me off with a wave of her hand. And what's wrong with you, why are you all sleepy and droopy-eyed, she interrupts. I have no adequate reply to that inquiry so I just shut the door and shrug.

Well let's go I don't want to be late, she states impatiently as she sets her purse down on my kitchen table and looks around the room. She is trying to suss out clues to her unanswered questions. I nod and head back to my bedroom to throw on a hoodie and rail off at least one more line. She yells out to me that she is stealing a water bottle from my refrigerator. I do not respond intelligently. There is no way I could raise my voice to any impressive decibel in my current state.

Once back in my bedroom, I sit down at my desk, grab the cut off straw and insufflate another line. Wow, just wow. The intense, euphoric rush is about as close to instantaneous as I can perceive. I shut my eyes and smile. This is so amazing, so incapable of putting into descriptive words. Time grinds to a halt as the warm, orgasmic rush of opium greets me like a monstrous oceanic wave that I welcome with decidedly open arms. It can drown me for all I care. Never before have I enjoyed life and what it can offer as much as I do right in this moment. This is magic, this is heavy, this is so completely undeserved that I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. I hope this feeling continues eternally but I have no standing or reason to ask it to.

I push the hair out of my eyes and make my way back over to the bed. I have to lie down for a second. This is too much. My face feels numb and the bitter taste of the drip in the back of my throat makes me think of the color purple. With my feet planted on the ground, I fall sideways across my bed, peering once again at the ceiling with heavy eyelids and vision of unadulterated amazement. I have entered the kingdom of morphine and there are no longer feelings of unrest inside me. Somehow they have all been evacuated; everything has been evacuated. I have found a successful way to tear through the blurry film that has thus far covered my eyes. Sight this clear should be unachievable to no one or achievable to everyone. There should be no inequality across these lines but there has always been and always will be. Except I have somehow surpassed it here tonight. I’ve unreasoningly ascended to higher ground and the view up here is nothing short of amazing. It’s hard to rail against injustice when you are unambiguously profiting from it. I’m done fighting; I’m going to start relenting.

* * * * *

I thought you were getting ready, I hear my friend scream from the threshold of my bedroom door. I look up at her with obvious confusion. We were going to the reunion, what the hell is the matter with you, she wants to know, crossing her arms and looking down at her watch with an impatient gesture. You’ve been in here for twenty minutes, she exclaims. We are going to be late now, she informs me. I slowly rise to a sitting position and nod with purpose. I'm ready, I tell her assuredly. She gives me a look of pure incredulousness and shakes her head once again. There’s a mixture of disbelief and slightly veiled irritation in her expression.

I get up and put on my hoodie, leaving the hood in place on the top of my head. It’s always my desire to remain profoundly shadowed. I don’t understand, why don’t you just take your fiancĂ© with you to this thing, I ask my friend absently as I search around my room for other things that I might need to take with me. He’s working again, she responds with a hint of derision in her voice. I nod, sensing that that issue may be a common problem between those two. I decide not to make any sort of rebuttal, kind of getting the feeling that she could talk a novel about this particular issue under certain circumstances.

Alright, I'm all ready to go now, I inform her pleasantly while making serious eye contact, my inane attempt at placation. I dislike annoying people if I can help it. She shakes her head with displeasure and leaves the room, heading back down the hallway to wait for me. I walk over to my desk and pocket my little one-hitter that I keep in a wooden box. It looks like a cigarette and provides the perfect cover for public use. It's pretty much an essential item at all social gatherings. It will reinvigorate my high at the most opportune time. I love it.

Let's go, she calls out to me from somewhere near my front door. I look over at my desk and see the last line that I cut for myself earlier in the afternoon. It’s all splayed out and looking very attractive to my insanely ravenous eyes. It's really calling out to me hard. I want it, I sort of feel like I need it in order to survive this night. Without much more deliberation than that, I bend down quickly, grab the straw and rail off the last line like champ. There’s no turning back now.

And I feel it coming over like a storm again. Whoa! As soon as it goes up my nose I feel it, as soon as I straighten back up I’m high! And then, whoosh goes the rush! It alights every nerve with distinctive pleasure, playing my spine like a piano all the way up the column to my brain. I find my bed once again and lay down unceremoniously. The euphoria is born in my stomach and then begins to spread and radiate out naturally from there, like rays of golden sunlight unobstructed by impatience, or fear, or anger, or hunger, or tension or anxiety. It’s a surge of absolute delight, a thoroughly delicious warmth that convinces me of my entrance into the kingdom of morphine, a nirvana-like state of complete and honest oblivion. This stuff is gripping; it strangles my very core but in a way that fills me with contentedness and unbelievable tranquility. I become confident in my future, my life, and my ability to survive and thrive in this world. How could anyone not be doing this on a semi-regular basis? How could anyone claim they are above this?

At the yelling insistence of my good friend, I stand slowly and make my stumbling way down the hall, a lazy and unintentionally cavalier grin plastered all across my face. The euphoric rush is subsiding now, gently thrusting me into the peaceful, very gratifying state of complete and utter relaxation and dreamy contentedness. My friend nods at me in a knowing manner and holds the door open so that I can pass through effortlessly. She gives me a derisive smirk and then hands me my keys after she locks the front door behind us.

As we head down the hallway toward the elevator, she totally calls me out on my immature behavior. I know you just took some drug there in your room, she jibes in a manner akin to exasperation and mundane vexation. She has knowledge of my tendencies toward recreational substances and tolerates my usage to a certain extent. Impressively she has become wise to most of my patterns and is not afraid to call me out accordingly. In actuality, it only bothers her when it holds her up, like now. I smile and nod slowly, relaying to her honestly that she is wise beyond her years. She is a very intelligent person, very adept at reading people and seeing things below the surface, the things that we as individuals strive to conceal. But despite that ability of hers, we have remained good friends over the years.

She responds to my nonverbal admission of guilt by stating, matter-of-factly, that if there were any other people who she could have convinced to accompany her to this particular five year reunion tonight, she would have gladly taken them instead of me. I laugh and nod, considering her remark valid and honest. Still, my arrogance and slight tendency toward narcissism does not allow me to take that insult in the manner in which it was intended. Instead, I accept it as a compliment and move on accordingly. Nothing can bother me in my current state. I am, for all intents and purposes, wholly and completely irreproachable.

* * * * *

The class reunion is at some upscale lounge in downtown Del Mar. I'm instantly annoyed by all of the people in attendance here. There are way too many for me to deal with in a coherent manner. Luckily, the heroin in my blood has ensured my well-being against harms of all kind. My friend immediately finds it exciting and starts gushing to me about all of the people that got fat, got bald and managed to trap considerably ugly significant others. I like how she always focuses on the negatives about people. I think that's why we ultimately became friends in the first place. We share a sinister sense of humor that most people would find nefarious.

Some girl immediately walks up to my friend and introduces herself as a soccer buddy, some girl with a very strange-sounding name that starts with the letter "M". I don't understand what she is saying and I don't try overly hard to decipher her words. Instead, I slowly slink away in search of the outside, a place where I can chill out and possibly have a hit or two off my pipe.

On my way out the door, I spy a group of kids that I particularly disliked in high school. I recognize the one girl by her trademark butch-style haircut and mean facial disposition. I heard awhile back that she joined the military and came out as a self-proclaimed lesbian. I always knew that she was heavily male. Ugh, I shake my head in utter disgust. She is not someone that I would ever want to run into in a dark alley. I decide that she still frightens me immensely, even to this day, and I continue on my way toward the outside, hoping that no one finds it fit to recognize and stop me in my tracks. There is absolutely no one here that I desire to converse with in any meaningful way.

This must be my lucky night because I am able to make it outside free and clear of obstructions. But, much to my chagrin, the immediate back area of the lounge is just as crowded as the inside so I decide to walk off down toward the ocean to get some distance from everyone else. While I realize that people are social creatures, these particular kinds of functions border on the insane and unimpressive to me personally. Why do I want to socialize with people that I never liked and have nothing in common with?

I pull the wooden box from deep inside my pocket and open it up in order to retrieve the little cigarette-looking pipe. Honestly, it’s the perfect cover for situations like this. I immediately crush the end of the pipe into my weed reserve, intent on packing as much weed in there as possible. The tighter the weed packs in, the better the hit. That’s just common knowledge.

Once I become satisfied with the amount of weed packed into the end of my pipe, I begin to fish around for a lighter in order to set this thing ablaze. But cruelly, my lighter is nowhere to be found. Oh shit! Don’t do this, please don’t do this! Don’t tell me that I forgot to take a lighter with me! Don’t give me this kind of heinous and demoralizing information! I can’t find a lighter anywhere, in any of my pockets. Oh fuck, you have got to be kidding me!

Unwilling to actually believe that my luck could be this bad, I continue, in marked denial, to search my pockets for a lighter of some kind, anything that might give light to my one-hitter here. But, as I come up empty once again, I finally decide that I must accept the reality that I have been thrust into. I don’t have a lighter here. There is nothing on me that will light this pipe. Unfortunately, the reality I currently stand in, is completely devoid of functional lighters. I am, for lack of a better phrase, shit out of luck lighter-wise.

I look around my general surroundings frantically for a convenience store that I might be able to walk over to and purchase a lighter, but nothing seems to be in my immediate vicinity. Damn it! This cannot be happening to me. Now I'm going to have to pander for a lighter; that has become my only choice at this point. And that course of action is sure to entail talking to some distasteful characters from my past and shooting the shit with them for a little while. I’d really hate to have to do that but my only other option is to go back in there and sit around with utter boredom while my heroin high festers and dies within me. I don’t want to seem overdramatic, but that latter course of action seems to be the worse of the two fates.

Finally and grudgingly, I swallow my, let’s call it pride, and resolve to walk back over to the lounge where the reunion is being held and try to sniff out some like-minded soul that might possess a lighter that I could borrow. It won't be a very easy task because I don't really know very many of these people. Besides, a majority of them may hold preconceived notions of me that will be impossible to discredit with only a few minutes of chatting. But it will be a necessary evil and one that I must endure in order to obtain a lighter and achieve my ultimate goal. It seems pretty clear to me now that I must smoke some weed in order to recapture my high. I won’t let it dissipate without a fight.

Back inside I find my friend once again. She demands to know where I wandered off to but I decline to respond with an intelligible answer. Whatever, she remarks with a shake of her head, giving me an annoyed look in the process. She then turns away and continues her discourse with the same girl that she met upon first entering this place, the one with the name beginning with the letter “M”. Since I would be hard pressed to believe that either one of these girls possess a lighter on their persons, I unanimously decide to wander around and look elsewhere.

I finally spot a dude out on the back balcony smoking a cigarette and I decide that he is the perfect person to ask for a lighter. After all, he got that cigarette lit in some fashion. At this moment, I would desire to know exactly how he achieved that miraculous feat. Do you have a lighter, I ask casually as I approach him from the side. He gives me a strange look at first, one that makes me think he recognizes me or considers my request confusing in some manner. Either way, I am starting to lose patience with his inattention and I’d like him to answer the question now.

Eventually he smirks lightly, nods, then reaches into his pocket and hands me his Zippo lighter. I cringe and make a face. I hate using Zippos to light marijuana because I can always taste the lighter fluid in the process. Oh well, desperate times typically call for desperate measures. I’m probably not going to find anything better in this place. So I accept the lighter and thank him gratefully. He watches me as I pull out my pipe and get it ready. He inquires if I am smoking marijuana but I ignore his question and light my pipe. I take in the smoke, deep in my lungs to make sure I am garnering the full effect, and then I blow a huge plume out. I light it again to make sure I dispose of any wayward crumbs stuck in the pipe. Then I return the lighter to the man I borrowed it from and nod slightly in response to his question. I turn away as I blow out all of my residual smoke. Oh man, this is what I’m talking about.

Marijuana is my favorite drug. Not only is it absolutely marvelous on its own, but it also has magical properties when it comes to reawakening highs that you might have otherwise lost for good. Typically the effects of heroin last up to six hours, but toward the middle and end of that stretch, it does have the tendency to start making you feel drowsy and ready for sleep. That is precisely where the marijuana comes in. It reinvigorates the drug, bringing it back to its glory days, even if only momentarily for one last hoorah, before it dissipates completely into the recesses of your mind. I love marijuana.

Wait a minute, can I get a hit off that pipe, the man calls after me. Though I appreciate his generosity with the lighter I am hardly obliged to return the sentiment. So I ignore his request in favor of reveling in the reawakened euphoria deep within my veins. But he isn’t taking no for an answer; he is incredibly persistent. He catches up to me and repeats his request, with purpose and adamancy this time. While I know this may sound callous and cold, if he was a good looking man, or even a mildly attractive one, I might be inclined to assent to his request. But that is hardly the case here and I am anything but a humanitarian. I’m not sharing with this maniac.

I wave him off and continue down the steps to the sandy beach below. C’mon, he encourages, getting in my face and giving me a very creepy smile. I don’t think so, I tell him dismissively as I move aside and pick up my pace once again. But apparently this dude doesn’t appreciate being rejected in this manner. He grabs my right arm and tries to take the pipe away from me. He’s making a huge mistake here. I could left hook this guy right now and not feel the pain of that choice. Of course, he’ll feel it and then he’ll wear it for at least a week.

Let go, I instruct him seriously. He doesn’t listen to my cautionary advice; they never listen when it’s important. You are going to be sorry, I warn him, a wry smile sneaking onto my lips and entertaining me to a certain degree. He snorts and continues to reach for the pipe in my hand. This guy has no idea what he is getting himself into. I am not one to mince words.

As he grabs onto the wrist of my right hand, I realize that there is only one way out of this very sticky situation. While violence is not always the answer, it does happen to be the answer most of the time. I am not averse to screwing up a few faces when the occasion specifically calls for it. This occasion seems to be yelling out for it so I think I will oblige, good-naturedly of course.

I cock my left arm back and deliver a strike right to his occipital bone, the area just below his right eye. He screams and immediately releases my wrist as he falls backward to the ground. Incidentally, the music stops playing and people are instantly alerted to the scene that I have just made. They gather around to learn about what has transpired and see if it something they can capture with their smart phones and broadcast for all to see on YouTube. Their addiction to social media sites really angers me at the moment. I don’t want to be famous.

Remorselessly, I shake my hand to make people think that I have been hurt in the altercation between me and lighter man. In reality, I never felt a thing. More people come around and begin to whisper inquiries about what happened and what is to be done. The lighter guy yells that I just attacked him for no good reason. That is not entirely correct, but as a scofflaw, in a manner of speaking, I would be remiss to admit that he tried to steal drugs from me. So instead I just laugh and shake my head, demonstrating my vehement disagreement with his version of the events.

Before an official inquest can be undertaken, I walk back inside to get my friend and inform her that we need to take off immediately. Why are you always hitting people and getting into trouble, my friend cries exasperatedly as I explain to her our imminent need to leave the premises. Now’s not really the most opportune time to delve into those issues, I remind her as I look over to see lounge staff approaching from the back patio. She rolls her eyes but eventually consents to leave. I’m glad she came around; I would loathe to spend the night in a jail cell.

As soon as we make it outside, before her car is even in our sights, two police officers descend out of nowhere and unconstitutionally detain us for questioning. Were either of you involved in the altercation inside, Cop One asks us both as he raises his hand and instructs us wordlessly to halt in our steps. I respond in the negative before my friend has the chance to answer honestly and doom us both. Wait here please, Cop Two insists as Cop One gives me an incredulous, complete look of disbelief. I wish I had a more honest face.

Cop One signals for his buddy to hold us while he steps aside and heads toward the front doors of this pristine establishment. Cop Two nods and consents to stand stoically above us, looking down his nose with suspicion and making wordless suggestions that I am lying about my innocence here. My friend glances over at me in a full-blown panic. I can tell she is about to come clean and thus emerge us both into a tub full of trouble.

The scuffle in there had nothing to do with us, I assure Cop Two who is looking beyond my friend and I by now. He is just going to wait for his partner to return with news before he acts in any way. I hate guys like this; they make it hard to triumph. My friend is concerned about this ordeal, I can tell. It seems quite evident that we have a limited amount of time to escape from this situation and our odds don’t look all that great.

For lack of any better ideas, I immediately try feigning menstrual cramps, something I typically do when I have been pulled over for speeding, but Cop Two does not seem at all convinced. He is better trained than most; damn my unfortunate luck! For some reason, he has become very well versed in the art of bullshit. He barely flinches at the sound of the word “menstrual”. That usually gets men away from you quick. My friend and I might be in some real trouble here.

Cop One suddenly returns and notifies Cop Two that I am in fact the one who started the fight inside. She fits the description I got in there to a fucking tee, Cop One elaborates to his partner. I give them both a look of pure incredulousness and disbelief, hoping it might shake their confidence. But it doesn’t. They seem latched on to me now and I fear there may be nothing I can do to mitigate this. I wish there was; I’m easily not above blackmail or even the bartering of small sexual favors. Truth be told, I’ve been in jail before and I have absolutely no desire to go back.

You can go, Cop One informs my friend as he reaches into his back pocket for some kind of item. I close my eyes and hope that they are not handcuffs or some kind of weapon made for subdual. While I’ve never been tasered, I cannot imagine that it is a very pleasant feeling.  I'm guessing that it's in the polar opposite realm as the euphoric feelings that I was entertaining earlier.

My friend does not respond to Cop One’s words. She remains standing beside me, evidently unpersuaded to leave. Cop One rolls his eyes with apparent irritation. He then immediately grabs hold of my arm, telling me that we are not finished here and we are going back inside to speak with witnesses. I do not resist. Resistance is futile in these types of situations. I’m not all that concerned anyway; I intend to be a writer not a politician. Who cares if I get charged with simple assault and battery? Lighter guy struck first anyway. I acted in complete and utter self-defense.

Cop One proceeds to drag me to the back area of the lounge where the unattractive lighter guy forced me to punch him. I turn my head around and note Cop Two following behind us, like a foot soldier on a mission. My friend is nowhere in sight. I don’t blame her one bit for leaving; I might have left in a similar situation. Nobody wants to find themselves in an eight-by-ten jail cell, least of all the people who have never had the misfortune of being placed there before.

The kids all around me are all recounting virtually identical stories. They are telling the cops, there are at least five of them now, that I hit lighter man without provocation. That is a complete and total falsification. I was in fact provoked. Where’s the victim, I hear Cop Three yell over to Cop One, who by the way still has his hands on me. Remember what happened the last time someone put their hands on me? Cop One hears the question and looks around for lighter man. But he is apparently nowhere in sight. This might be the lucky break I need to escape this situation relatively unscathed.

Cop One instructs Cop Two, Three, Four and Five to hang back and take down more witness statements. Cop One and Cop Six intend to transport me to the precinct for questions and other investigative purposes. I roll my eyes and try to stifle the urge to become mouthy and sarcastic. My verbal outbursts have only gotten me in more trouble in the past. But it is somewhat hard trying to convince myself to be quiet when there is so much shit I could be talking instead.

Cop One and Cop Six lead me outside and put me in the back of a squad car. I remain silent for the good of my freedom and autonomy. The tough part is that I know investigations can take up to forty-eight hours of time. That is a whole lot of time for someone like me who requires certain things at intervals much shorter than that. I suppose that is exactly what these cops are relying on. But I’d rather die than give them the satisfaction of breaking me. This is going to be the longest two days of their lives. I will make damn sure of that.

* * * * *

You’re free to go, the lady detective relays to me casually as she sticks her head into the holding room that I have been sitting inside of for the past ten hours. Cops have come in and out of here trying to talk with me, reason with me, and scare me. None of them have entertained even a modicum of success. If I weren’t so tired and irritable, I would find an incredible amount of entertainment in their failure. But I find it hard to even smile at this point. I need to go home and sleep for at least a full day, maybe more.

The man you assaulted is not pressing any charges, the lady detective notifies me. I detect slight disappointment in her voice but I don’t let on. I just smile and nod. She should kill herself if she ever thought I was worried about this. I wasn’t worried at all. He isn’t pressing any charges, against my express advice, she adds squalidly as she motions for me to get up and follow her out of the room. She had to add that little tidbit to let me know that she would have burned me if she had the chance. I’m not impressed with her dedication or obvious disdain for me.

I comply with her demand to follow, albeit somewhat slowly, given the fact that I have been a captured prisoner for the past ten hours. I feel grateful that I can leave this place but it also makes me wonder. Why would lighter man choose not to press charges against me? It’s rare to see anyone choose not to bring a lawsuit, especially when a judgment would have been all but guaranteed. Maybe lighter man was embarrassed that he was punched out by a girl. Or maybe he is an outlaw himself, someone who doesn’t want to push their luck or anonymity for a petty and frivolous reward. I’m totally fine profiting from either one of those possibilities.

The lady detective does not divulge any reason why she is releasing me from custody other than lighter man’s unwillingness to bring suit at this time. That’s enough of a reason for me. I continue to follow the lady detective as she begins to climb the stairs that will lead up to the bullpen of the precinct. She is letting me go; I am lucky. Now I just need to stay out of trouble for the foreseeable future. There’s nothing that great outside for me anyway.

I hope you learned a valuable lesson here, the lady detective says to me curtly as she walks me to the front door and allows me to exit the building. I nod, displaying politeness but not necessarily affirmation to her remark. She can have her comment, that’s fine, but I don’t have to respond. Her words of caution or warning mean nothing to me; if a punk tries to mess with me in the future, I am not going to hesitate to lay him out. That’s just the way it is. But I’m not going to go out of my way to admit that to her, especially when she’s holding handcuffs and a gun and the unmitigated power to re-detain me at any time.

Immediately as I step outside, I notice my friend waiting on the curbside to pick me up. I would recognize her beige grandma car a mile away. It’s nice that she came; she definitely didn’t have to. I give the lady detective one last mockingly sincere half-smile and then I make my way toward my friend’s car. The detective shouts after me some kind of additional warning but I pay it no particular attention. All I want to do is go home, pop a Xanax and sleep for like a day. I’m really not at all interested in reliving any of the past twenty-four hours.

I’m only here because it was sort of my fault that you got in trouble, my friend volunteers quickly as I enter the passenger side of her car. I slam the door shut and graciously thank her for showing up despite her guilt-flawed reason for doing so. It doesn’t matter why she has chosen to give me a ride, I’m just glad that she has. I really didn’t want to have to walk the twelve blocks it would take to get back to my apartment on the southern side of downtown. Especially taking into account the drastic turn the weather seems to have taken since I got locked up last night. Rain would have been the final nail to the casket of this experience.

My friend pulls away from the curb and enters the flow of traffic. She asks me how I am but my reply is unintelligible. I don’t feel like keeping up my end of a conversation right now. But she doesn’t let it go at that. She desires to know exactly what I went through at the station last night. Of course I choose to leave those things unsaid. Silence marks the trip for a little while until she decides to ask one more time. I sigh and tell her that it was no big deal. It wasn’t that bad, I insist as I rub my eyes and try to keep alert for the next few miles. Soon I will be home and within steps of my bed. I can’t wait to get the opportunity to sleep.

That cop was really an asshole, my friend comments bitterly. I agree with the sentiment. All cops are assholes, I clarify. So what did they do with you for ten hours, she asks curiously. I don’t respond. I watch her hands as they move the steering wheel left as she makes the turn onto Ninth Street. I’ve never been detained by the police before I just want to know, my friend admits with a small smile. I shrug but there is no time to elaborate. The shrieking, bone curdling, metal-crunching sound of striking impact and the shattering of shards of glass everywhere makes any response that I might have given wholly and completely irrelevant.

The End.