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I sit alone at a table. It’s dark and I don’t know where I am or how I got here. There are bottles of liquor and wine everywhere and on the table in front of me is a large pile of white cocaine and a huge bag of yellow crack. There is also a torch, a pipe, a tube of glue and an open can filled with gasoline.

I look around me. There is blackness, there is alcohol, there are drugs. There is an abundance of all of them. I know I’m alone and there is no one to stop me. I know I can do as much as I want of whatever I want.

As I reach for one of the bottles, something inside of me tells me to stop, that what I’m doing is wrong, that I can’t do it anymore, that I’m killing myself. I reach anyway. I grip the bottle, bring it to my lips and take a long deep draw that burns my mouth, my throat and my stomach.

For the briefest instant I feel complete. The pain I carry with me disappears. I feel comfortable and at rest, confident and secure, calm and composed. I feel good. Goddamn it, I feel fucking good.

The feelings are gone as quickly as they came and I want them back. I don’t care what I have to do, what I have to take, what I have to endure. I’ll do anything. I just want them to come back.

I take another drink. It doesn’t work. I grab a different bottle, take a larger drink. It doesn’t work. I seize bottle after bottle, take drink after drink, nothing works. Instead of feeling better, I feel increasingly worse. Everything I felt that was good has become bad and it has been magnified beyond any point of reference or comprehension. My only option is to try and kill. Kill what hurts. Kill it.

I switch to the drugs. I take a deep breath and I bury my face in the pile of coke and I inhale and my nostrils turn to fire and the back of my throat becomes an inferno. I take a breath, inhale, take a breath, inhale, take a breath, inhale. Too much too fast and my nose starts bleeding. I wipe the blood away and I take a breath and I inhale. I do it again. The killing has started, but I’m not close to being done.

I rip open the bag of crack and I pull out a handful of small yellow rocks. I wipe the blood again and I snatch the pipe, which is a long straight piece of glass and a screen filter and I start stuffing rocks into it. I fill it, wipe the blood again, fire up the torch, put the pipe in my mouth, bring the white flame to its tip. I inhale. Hot peppermint honey mixed with napalm followed by a rush a thousandfold stronger than the purest powder, a thousandfold more dangerous. I hold and the rush gains speed and power and it grows, consumes and overwhelms me. I feel good again, perfect, magnificent and invincible, like the power of every orgasm I’ve ever had, could ever have and will ever have has been concentrated into a single moment. Oh my God, I’m coming. Oh my fucking God, I’m coming. Let it come let it come let it come let it come. Let it fucking come.

It’s gone as fast as it came and I know it’s gone for good, replaced by fear, dread and a murderous rage. Any pretense of experiencing pleasure disappears. I grab rocks, stuff the pipe, hit. I grab rocks, stuff the pipe, hit. The torch is white and the glass is pink and I feel the skin of my fingers bubbling but it doesn’t bother me. I grab rocks, stuff the pipe, hit. I do it until the bag is empty and then I stuff the bag into the pipe and I smoke the plastic. I have a murderous rage and I need to kill. Kill my heart, kill my mind, kill myself.

There is glue and there is gasoline and I want them both. I grab the glue and I put the end of the tube below my nose and I lay a thick line on the skin between my nostrils and my lip. Each breath brings the stench of Hell and death, each breath brings on the desire for more. I am killing quickly and efficiently now, but not quickly or efficiently enough.

I lean over and place my nose just above the shimmering surface of the gasoline and I stare into the face of chemical annihilation. This face is my friend, my enemy and my only option. I take it.

Breathe in, breathe out, go faster and faster and faster and faster. I don’t feel anything anymore or what I do feel is so powerful that my mind and my body are incapable of allowing it to register. I am comfortable here. This is what I want, what I need and what I must have, and this is where I have been living the last few years of my life.

I realize that I’m cold and I snap and I open my eyes. The Room is dark and quiet. A clock near John’s bed reads six-fifteen. I can hear Warren snoring. I sit up and I rub my body and I shiver. Goose pimples cover my arms and the hair on the back of my neck stands straight and I’m scared. Scared of my dream, scared of the morning, scared of this place and the People in it, scared of a life without drugs and alcohol, scared of myself, scared to deal with myself, scared of the day that lies ahead, scared shitless, scared out of my mind. I’m scared and I’m alone and it’s early in the morning and no one is awake yet.

I get out of bed and I walk to the Bathroom and I take a shower and I dry myself off and the pain hits me and I drop to my knees and I crawl to the toilet and I get sick. The sickness is worse than usual. Thicker, bloodier, more chunks of stomach, more painful. Each wrenching ejection burns my throat and sends a sharp pain through my chest and makes me feel as if I’m choking. It makes me feel as if I’m choking and I almost wish I was because then it would stop. I just want it to stop.

The sickness ends and I sit down on the floor and I lean back against the front of the toilet. Waves of emotion begin streaming through me and I can feel the welling of tears. Everything that I know and that I am and everything that I’ve done begins flashing in front of my eyes. My past, my present, my future. My friends, my enemies, my friends who became enemies. Where I’ve lived, where I’ve been, what I’ve seen, what I’ve done. What I’ve ruined and destroyed.

I start to cry. Tears begin running down my face and quiet sobs escape me. I don’t know what I’m doing and I don’t know why I’m here and I don’t know how things ever got this bad. I try to find answers but they aren’t there. I’m too fucked up to have answers. I’m too fucked up for anything. The tears come harder and sobs become louder and I curl up on the cold tile floor and I hug myself. I hug myself and I wail and it’s morning and I’m somewhere in Minnesota and I haven’t had a drink in five days and I don’t know what the fuck is happening to me.

The tears stop and the sobs stop and I sit up and I wipe my face. I can hear talking outside and I don’t want to be seen this way so I stand up and I take a deep breath and I tell myself I’m all right and I leave.

I walk into the Room. Warren and John are standing by Larry’s bed. Warren hears me and he looks over at me.

Have you seen Larry?


His stuff is gone.

I haven’t seen him.

We think he left.

I don’t know what to tell you.

We’re going to find the Counselors to tell them. If you see him, will you send him after us?


They leave and I walk to my bed and as I put on my clothes, I think about Larry. He’s gone. Definitely gone and definitely not coming back. He’s out, alone in the cold, probably on the side of a Highway, carrying his bags, his thumb out and raised. He’s thinking of his Wife and his beautiful little Girls. He wants to see them and hold them and hug them and kiss them. He wants to tell them he’s sorry and that everything is all right, that he’s ready to be the Husband and the Father he knows he could’ve been. He’s praying that they don’t have what he has because if they do, they’re dead. Maybe not tomorrow or next week or next month or next year, but sooner or later they’re dead, and they’re dead because of him. Bless you, Larry, my thoughts are with you. May you make it home safe, may your Wife and Daughters be HIV-negative, may the rest of your days on this Earth be the happiest you’ve known. Bless you, Larry. Bless you.

I finish dressing and I leave the Room. I collect the cleaning supplies and I go the Group Toilets and though they don’t seem dirty, I get down on my knees and I start cleaning them.


I turn around. Roy is standing at the door.

You did a shitty job yesterday.

I lay down my sponge.


I stand.

You did a shitty job yesterday.

Roy steps forward.

They looked clean to me.

He steps forward again.

They were dirty. Do a better job today or I’m telling on you.

The Bathroom is small.

You hear me. You clean these toilets well or I’m telling on you.

I feel trapped.

I’ll clean them well. I promise.

Like a rat in a cage.


Like a rat in a cage who wants to get out.


He steps forward again. I can smell his breath, feel his spit on my cheeks. The Fury rises.


I reach up and I grab Roy by the throat and I squeeze and I throw him against the wall of the Bathroom and he hits with a thud and he starts screaming.


I grab him again and I shove him through the door. He hits the wall outside the door and he slumps to the ground and he continues screaming.


I step through the door and I stand over him.

How clean are the toilets now, Motherfucker?

I wanna beat him.


I wanna kick his fucking face in.

How clean are the toilets now, Motherfucker?

I want to tear his limbs off and stuff them down his fucking throat.


I want to kill him. Reduce him to crushed bone, torn flesh and blood.


Fucking kill him.



Two men rush into the Hall and they grab me and they pull me back. I push them away.


More come. They lift Roy to his feet, stand between us, stare at me as if I’m a monster. I stare back. I stare through them and straight at Roy.

He attacked me, he’s crazy, get him away from me.

Roy is crying and sobbing. Tears are streaming down his face and he’s breathing quickly and heavily. The men try to comfort him.

I came to help him with the toilets, I just wanted to help and he attacked me. I didn’t do anything wrong.

They stare at me. Stare at me as if I’m a monster.

I turn and I walk back to my Room and it’s empty and I begin pacing and my body shakes and I try to control myself. Half of me wants to go back to the Hall and fight whoever is there and either destroy or be destroyed, half of me wants to hide. All of me wants the liquor and the wine and the coke and the crack and the glue and the gasoline that I had in my dream.

The Fury has risen. I pace and I shake and I try to control myself. I need to calm down, but I don’t know how. The outlets I depend on, use for survival and have become addicted to are gone, replaced by Doctors and Nurses and Counselors and Rules and Regulations and Pills and Lectures and Mandatory Meals and Jobs in the morning and none of them do a fucking thing for me. Not one fucking thing.

I stop pacing. I stare at the floor. I ball my fists and I squeeze and every cell in my body tenses and prepares and it’s coming the Fury is coming and I don’t know what to do or where to go or how to stop it and it’s coming and it’s coming and it comes. Explosion.

I scream. I see a bed. I grab the end of the bed and I lift it and I flip it and the mattress goes and I grab the simple metal frame and I lift it and I throw it down with everything everything everything and it snaps but it’s not enough so I stomp it stomp it stomp it and it snaps again again again and there are only broken bars and bolts and screws and I’m screaming and it feels good and I’m just getting started. I move to a nightstand. I pull out the drawers and throw and they’re on the other side of the Room and they’re no longer drawers but pieces of drawers and the nightstand is still there so I pick it up and I slam it and it’s just pieces of a nightstand.

There is someone by the door and that someone is yelling but I don’t hear him. I am beyond hearing, beyond sight, beyond feeling, beyond thinking. I am deaf, dumb and blind. Unconscious, unaware and uncontrollable.

There is a dresser, there are pieces of a dresser. There is another bed and I flip it and I destroy it. There is more yelling and then there are Men in White and there are arms and they’re holding me and I’m screaming.

There is a needle.


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