“Any and all spewings of an afterlife, of heavens, of hells, of ghostmanships, of any sort of spirit-life that lives on after the body dies, seems anti-logical to me. And I maintain that atheistic stance even now, confronted with my mortality in the worst possible sense.”
Being an attorney is kind of like being a prostitute, not that I’ve ever been a prostitute (not in the cold hard business sense at least), but I imagine prostitution to be quite similar to lawyering in my narrow-minded, uninspired, hopelessly unimaginative little world. Attorneys get paid handsomely for very little work. For example, today I got paid a pretty penny for taking the heat on a case that wasn’t even mine, for something that I didn’t even do, for a violation that was neither ethical nor legal, it was contrived in effect, by an angry judge and militant opposing counsel, just so that said judge could feel like she imparted some kind of knowledge and wisdom to the millennial generation and just so said opposing counsel could try to blackmail us for short of five thousand. Dang, I hate attorneys, especially the old ones. They just don’t get it. Seems like they have completely ripped out all the honor and respect of the profession, if ever there was any honor to begin with, and so then if you come off like a nice kid, just trying to do your job, you get screwed. I hate most of the attorneys older than me because they perform their jobs like a chess game and I really just don’t care about politics and deceiving people for hollow wins. I just don’t want to be cheated and vilified for something I didn’t do, taking the fall for someone else, I’m no martyr.
But it turns out somehow I’m the asshole even though I didn’t do anything wrong. In this case I get that the judge was just trying to impart some advice in a hostile manner and I really don’t hold a grudge for it, really, I don’t care if she wants to talk shit to me for twenty minutes if I get a four figure check cut right after, I guess it’s worth it. Who else besides a fucking prostitute can say they get that much money for 20 minutes of work? The problem that I don’t think she realized (many of these older super-serious professionals don’t realize) is that millennials are punks, we are over-rated little shitheads who claim our lives are hard because we can’t find good jobs, have tons of student loan debt, have to live with our parents, and want it all without sacrificing a goddamn thing in the process. Millennials are entitled! I’m not going to argue this point or try to refute it. Millennials have it hard only in the sense that life didn’t work out perfectly without doing anything to help it along. We expected to graduate and find gainful employment in a prestigious job and when that didn’t happen, we became outraged and indignant. We took it to Wall Street, got laughed at, then we piss and moan to our friends, remember when, ah. Wall Street did get bailed out while the students got sold out. Sure, that’s unfair. No arguments here! It’s also unfair that many of the baby boomers got killed in the Vietnam War, but the survivors persevered. I’m sure some tiny portion of the millennials will persevere too, maybe, if they don’t let the heavy burden of student loans get them down.
Of course we are not the only ones who will suffer in the end. Society as a whole will suffer when the millennials fail to prosper because we aren’t hitting the normal landmarks that make the older generations the profit that they count on, that they feel entitled to, ah so similar to us now. They just don’t see it yet. The generations who came before us, who made us, who also fucked us, well they fucked themselves in the process because how are they going to get their precious social security and disability from a generation who is over educated and under employed? If we have to live with our parents for most of our twenties in order to get off our feet, well then we are going to spend our thirties on pure debauchery, not buying houses or having kiddies, future corpses to support the masses onward, we are going to spend our thirties on just plain debauchery. The thirties become the new twenties and so on. Therefore, those born in the fifties and sixties and arriving in the eighties, those who butt raped our economy and said “Fuck You” to their own children, well they aren’t going to get to retire in the timely manner that they foresaw once upon a time when the economy was thriving and they were purloining. Not when most of the millennials are going to wait until they are forty-something to start earning and paying into social security. I’m planning a decade more of debauchery or more that’s for damn sure. Yes I am a punk, I’m a little millennial shithead, fully admitted. No judge’s harsh words are going to change that.
I wouldn’t say that I don’t work hard at all, but it seems the things I work hard for get me nowhere and the things I don’t work hard for get me money. Probably a bad thing to reinforce in me, given my propensities. Of course in order to get that money I have to be like a prostitute, sell out, and just be cool with getting abused by judges, told that I am a loser, a little cavalier asshole. I guess it’s not so bad of a living except it’s certainly not honest. If I was honest I would have told her that I’m a writer, that writing is my career, the one I really want to pursue, and I’m only doing the law thing because, again, I get paid far better for far less work than being a writer and I’m an opportunist first. I would have told her I’d much rather sit in my ivory shithole and massage my words than go into court and argue futile cases. The law field is completely corrupt, it’s all fucking bullshit, politics and cronyism. Ah, but that would have gotten me nowhere at all.
But at late twenty-something, (oh kill me!) I don’t really have any great interest in being a struggling starving artist in New York City. I want to drive around in a sweet Porsche and live high while I’m trying to make it as a writer on the side. This is the whole reason I went to law school – to fund my writing ambitions and not be messed with, not have to borrow money or whatever. Of course all this living off of easy work as an attorney slash prostitute also leads to a certain amount of well-intentioned self-loathing on certain occasions, the ideas of selling out or selling up or whatever they call it, and thinking here and now and before that with a life of debauchery like this I won’t have shit to write about anyway.
Valid points all I’m afraid, and yet I still have ideas, ideas, ideas, floating around in my head, nurturing them while I run, while I walk, while I tan, while I sleep, while I swim, while I drive, while I sit in court getting reamed out by a bitter old angry judge who hates my punkass haircut, the smirk on my lips, and my cavalier attitude, and while I sit in godforsaken LA traffic, just thinking, thinking, thinking about what next to write, a great grand story that helps me make it, or at least to the point where I can write about whatever I want and have enough clout to publish without a shady contract deal. Ah America and your dumb dream promises. Who ever gets to take advantage? Only those in right time right space territory I suppose, and what is that good for? How does that help aggressively mediocre me, not so much a prodigy as a first born unicorn, putting the right words together for nothing more than a B+ college paper, A- if I’m lucky, appealing to those pretentious professors who dig my metaphors and some kind of syntax, is this all that’s left?
All of this ugliness makes me want to get high, night after night, basically let it have me, give my whole life over to it, lie for it, anything for comfort, the stuff I don’t deserve, take the rest of the reserve and then look for it elsewhere, henceforth I’m going to embrace it, runaway with it, until there’s nothing left, this is my pattern, and I’ll just play it out. And then my buddy asked me last night to partake but I declined, ah growth! I remember when I never declined, that year in New York City such blasphemy, anything I wanted, I had, even if it was not warranted. But tonight, it’s Friday night, and I don’t have anything better to do than indulge every whims, this is it, I blew off the one boyfriend who came calling, stalling him until next week, just so I can indulge in some much-needed reverie. And my buddy, he is simple in the grandest way, he doesn’t try to make it (as Kerouac would say), so I feel like we can hit it without much trouble.
And so here we are. He cooks it up and even though I hate the kind he brought, I don’t bring it up because it seems sort of petty. I’ve been dealing with far too much pettiness recently. If he’s going to supply and do all the work, what kind of asshole would complain? I let him stick it in too cause I still get a little queasy when I do it myself. The needle, digging around, trying to hit it on the first, second, third try, I'm still not very good at all, but my buddy with medical background, no hassle.
I close my eyes, look away and wait for it to hit me. When it does, it’s a euphoric rush like no other. I can’t describe it; it’s indescribable. Suffice it to say it has methodically and categorically snuffed out any and all feelings of unrest and discontentedness that were still alive inside me. All of those harmful emotions have ceased to exist now. I can feel the drug taking over, rendering me powerless, holding me down and forcing me to experience every moment of its intense and orgasmic pleasure. It’s like a lover, only a thousand times better because it won’t try to talk to me afterward or cuddle unnecessarily; it won’t attempt to overstay its welcome or trap me into a night of restlessness.
Suddenly I jerk my eyes open, looking around momentarily, somewhat shocked, catapulted from leisure for a second or two. There’s a dead sort of silence all around me and as I look around I wonder for a moment if I am in another place entirely. The drug is playing my spine like a piano, starting at the base of my brain, the cerebellum, and working its beautiful, strong and tortuous hands down the length of my spinal column like a musician on a mission for auditory excellence. It’s massaging every fiber of every muscle, turning everything that I once was, that I once had unanimous and inarguable control over into something soft, pliable and decidedly uncontainable. I can feel myself becoming putty in the arms of this great drug, but I don’t mind one bit. This is the only peace I have ever really known.
I sigh once more under the care of this unknowable drug. I made it through the trials and tribulations of another day unscathed. I made it to this point of peripheral nirvana and I will hold onto the thin mask of consciousness for as long as I am able. I know that everything is going to be alright; I know that everything will work itself out in the end. I can do anything I want. Like Seuss tells his myriad of readers, the sky is the limit! If one thing is certain it is that I will persevere somehow.
A couple days later, early in the day, I’m back to my old ways and it didn’t matter that I kind of got sick off the stuff the night before because I wake up and think immediately about doing more. I remove my works box from the desk drawer, remove the syringe, the cotton and the little metal spoon, the one I obtained for my sister in Chicago because she has a collection, the one I neglected to give to her because I used it to cook junk with in the airport bathroom when a stewardess which turned out to be my stewardess walked in and caught me, tsk-tsking me before walking out and I then boarded a plane to California. Then I couldn’t give the spoon to my sister because I was ashamed because it smelled like junk and had the brownish-gold burn marks reminiscent of junk and it also held the sentimental value of a junk experience that I didn’t want to forget or couldn’t forget or something like that. So now that I’m using it once more, I realize this junk cooks up real nice in this sentimental, metal spoon, and it brings a twinge of nostalgia to the surface and a smile to my face. It must be quality junk I procured because it almost dissolves right into the distilled water.
I flick the wheel of the nearby lighter, The Who one my best boy friend left, rough but the flame is still healthy, burning underneath the metal spoon and bringing the resultant substance to a vigorous boil. I’m looking forward to feeling the inherent lift, the full mind and body propulsion, the chemical fullness of heroin that helps me create words that are so perfect and descriptive that no reader could ever hope to challenge or critique them successfully. I smile and extinguish the flame once the solution is ready, casting the instrument aside disinterestedly and staring down at the chemical spinning around and dissolving fully into its water base, ah science. If only we had done experiments like this in high school chemistry, I might have gotten better than a sad B, which was actually a gift, just like my B in calculus.
The golden, brown yet still strikingly clear color of the chemical almost looks foreign to me, like I haven’t already grown accustomed to introducing it into my veins on a semi-regular basis. I find a good one and quickly sink the needle in before it can shrink away back toward muscle and bone, hiding in flesh and nervous tissue that will rob me of the providence that awaits. It’s an easy stick, like I figured it would be. After all, the routine is still somewhat new. My veins have all slinked back up to the surface to rejuvenate in the motherly light of the welcoming and nurturing sun. I bite my lip and pull back on the plunger slowly, just enough to see blood shoot up into the chamber and make my day. Gratified by the sight, I push it all home with one fluid motion of my thumb. Immediately I pull out of the vein and discard the syringe. This is it.
What comes next in this experience that will captivate me for seconds, minutes, hours, the blast of pure euphoria that has been so lacking in my life recently. This is the feeling that has lied unforgotten deep within my body and mind, the feeling that I think about almost day and night, night and day, my waking moments and raping my dreams as well. Now that we have been reintroduced, it feels like we never spent any time apart. I no longer remember or even fixate on all my legal troubles; they don't matter.
After an awe-inspiring spell lying down on the couch just thinking of nothing and letting my body feel the pleasure of a thousand benign, beautiful chemical assaults, I get up slowly and walk over to my desk. I open my laptop lethargically and sit down, ready to force myself to work on the novel once more. I scroll to the beginning of my manuscript and begin to peruse the words that I have carved out thus far. I am immediately somewhat anguished to see that it all sounds painfully insincere, almost offensive in its unoriginality. I shake my head slightly but resolve to rise to the challenge that I created for myself. I set to work, beginning to interject my heroin-laced, opiate-saturated two sense into the places that are lacking, here and there and throughout the paragraphs and pages, just as my beautifully altered mind sees fit. This is why I pushed off in the first place. The rest of the night will be legendary.
This got me into a terrible routine of shooting heroin every day for at least two weeks and I guess I’m also under-reporting or under-exaggerating or whatever, and yet I’m unworried, but it doesn’t matter cause I’ll get back to it eventually. It’s been six hours since I last shot up and I’ve been chain smoking joint after joint just to get my mind off heroin. I know I need to take a break. But smoking weed doesn't do enough to distract me, it only dazes me, makes me see how impotent it is. Nevertheless, I am determined to spend at least twenty-four hours off heroin, to give myself a break, the break I need to be able to assert, wholeheartedly and without the smirks of my biggest detractors, that I'm not addicted.
So after staring dead ahead, zoned out, unblinking, unthinking, corneas collecting the dust of many days, just sitting here opened and unaccustomed, I resolve to get up and carefully move to the couch with the slow and confident stride of a cavalier, nihilistic deviant, making sure that I don’t faint or fall down in the process. Lucky for me, I make it over to the couch without issue. I reach over and flip on the television in order to continue the culture of pleasant distraction and forget about heroin’s pull on my life, my freewill, my decisiveness, maybe even my soul.
I’m not even thinking about the heroin still inside my desk waiting to be cooked up and applied to my vein blood, heroin that could make me feel good beyond reproach. Heroin is not that important to me; it is not the be-all-to-end-all. I’m not in habit territory quite yet so I’m generally unworried about succumbing to tired tracks, the pull of an ancient and unrelenting power that I am circumstantially ill equipped to handle. My genetics have made me almost impenetrable to addiction, though not completely. Admittedly, there have been times in the middle of the night where I have woken up in a cold sweat and I vow to never again stick a needle in my arm. But then later that same afternoon, I repeat the process all over again because things somehow change in my mind, my rationalizations grow stronger, and I realize that I really want to have that bliss. I suppose resolves weaken and I feel that need. Maybe I am merely bored and I cannot successfully convince myself that I am not better for it. Who knows the immeasurable chemicals that can assault brain matter?
Despite my lengthy internal battles, I realize that I can’t stop thinking about heroin and considering its relative importance in my life. I wonder how it was subtly able to change my state of mind. I used to abhor the drug in the worst way, and now I generally accept it as good and well intentioned. Lately it seems to be more constantly on my mind, like some weird, nightmarish obsession that has me issuing inconsistencies on a regular basis, making every occasion an exception to the general rule that keeps it out of my veins. I hate myself more and more for embracing it. But I acknowledge that I will embrace it again, and again after that. I might embrace it now. After all, it’s been over six hours.
I think my preconceived notions might be an affect or an effect, the one grammar rule I do not know, of the society. It seems well established that drugs are important to art. I’m not entirely sure why but my mind lest drugs could not accomplish the same amazing feats, I’m sure of that. My writing could definitely not survive the metaphorical drought of drugs and still maintain its vibrancy and melodic qualities, the kind of ingenious composition I have achieved through the compassionate and encouraging hand of narcotics. So I make the decision to embrace it. I walk over to my desk and let it resume its place, the space in my empty veins that has convinced my brain to call for it. Maybe I’ll shoot it and then write a poem about it.
I suppose the thing you can never really know is how bad the junk sickness will be. Potentially you can read accounts of it, although inaccurate to a large extent because people are too busy being all knotted up in pain and unrest to document it, but it is never as bad in written form as it is in physical form. I really don’t believe I have ever experienced a truly bad form of junk sickness. I’ve felt the slighter outer shell of the thing called withdrawal, but I’ve never felt the eye of the storm. All I know is that the barely there outer shell of junk sickness is uncomfortable to say the least and I don’t ever want to know the rest.
Now that particular junk sickness is coming on. I feel it bubbling up in my stomach, turning my intestines, making me sick, making my limbs ache feverishly and riling up my nerves to an almost explosive degree. I flex my jaw. I’m afraid of what might happen. I was doing pretty well with the heroin all summer, just taking moderate amounts and thus warding off any and all withdrawal-related sickness. But these past couple of weeks have found me insanely bored and making exceptions. It’s terrible how these things start; I carve out these hard and fast rules and mean to stick to them unconditionally. Then I find myself breaking them, indulging in one exception and then another until it is noon on a Wednesday and banging a shot of heroin seems like the appropriate thing to do.
Having known heroin and its effects, both good and arguably bad, I sort of feel the need to stick up for it a little, to mitigate the unforgiving reputation that it has claimed for want of something better. I almost feel for knowing it, a pride that has forced me to the periphery of society. And that is okay with me because the people on the fringe are the most interesting ones. For the ones who can’t imagine, for the ones who embrace religion instead or the silly rules of society that keep the people soft, soft and unwilling to rise up against tyranny in all forms, I do feel some sympathy. They sit and wait with bated breath for some fantastic and unrealistic afterlife, never realizing that irrational prospect is just another way they get robbed, just another way they get forced down into submission, submitting to all the societal laws, even the ones that don’t make any sense at all.
In many ways I like being an outcast because it makes me feel real, like a real person, instead of a shadow, like most of the people I know, simply shadows, following blindly for want of direction, not knowing what they are doing most of the time. I like feeling real, like someone who could exist normally, if certain things were flexed in my favor and society was less rigid and rule-based. With that notion firmly in mind, ignoring the bad in favor of the good, I remove the syringe from the box and lay it out on my desk with prideful indignation. This is the best possible decision for today.
Tomorrow is another day, a new day, encompassing a naïve promise of hopefulness, of positive change and possibilities, a new day that will be there to fall back on and look forward to until it no longer exists for me. I will rely on the idea of tomorrows until the prospect has been taken away for good. Until then, I will look to tomorrow with bright eyes and that naïve hope of what it could offer. I will continue to put things off, thinking I’ll be better in the morning.
But I wasn’t better in the morning, mostly because I banged another shot of heroin as soon as I woke up and then nodded off for another three hours of wasted time. I think I reawakened a beast inside me when I went back to it for another playful taste. Once I began to recover, I started to see the wisdom in finishing this novel and getting some semblance of a life in order. I need to be a writer, not a lawyer. I don’t like the fate the law has given me; it's trying to make me a cute little sacrificial lamb.
I decided that I needed to stop fucking around and get serious. So I dragged myself off the couch, grabbed my laptop, railed off a modestly small line of rose-colored methamphetamine that I acquired from a friend of a friend -- rather a guy who I slept with once who knows a girl who I used to go to university with back in Cali who just so happens to work for a public relations company in the Village who is a speed fiend in her own right -- and cut out of my apartment heading for a coffee shop where I might actually get some work done.