Wake Up Call

by Chris Curtis

I awoke to the sound of flies buzzing around my head and the stench of a toilet that had not worked for some time, but used nonetheless. I drank some water that I had brought from a faucet the night before. It was warm and tasted stale but at least it was wet. It wasn't long before the pains of withdrawal hit and made me gag. My stomach in knots, I slowly pulled the filthy carpet I had used to keep warm over the seemingly endless night off my emaciated body.

The light that seeped in through the cracks in the boards that were nailed over the windows revealed a small bedroom with holes in the sheetrock. My head pounding I slowly arose from the nights respite and began to search the dank and empty house for a cigarette butt. I needed to relieve myself, but I knew that if I used the facilities I would not be able to hold down the bile that was churning in my stomach, so I crawled out the window that I had relieved of it's boarding and found a good spot to go.

The light was harsh and hurt my eyes, and I had to be careful not to get caught; I might want to return this evening. Good spots with plenty of protection from the elements were hard to find on the streets. I crawled back into the boarded up house and walked into the little bedroom where all my worldly goods lay stuffed in a grocery bag. The room smelled of urine and I couldn't stand to breath through my nose. I walked over to a hole in the wall, reached into its depths and pulled out a sock that I had placed there the night before. I carried it back over to where I had slept and sat with my aching legs folded. I placed an empty milk carton onto its side and proceeded to empty the contents of the sock onto it. I picked up the spoon and spat on it then wiped it off on my shirt. My hands were shaking with anticipation; I could barely unwrap the small cellophane container that held the object of my desire. I placed the small brown glob of tar in the spoon and poured a minute amount of water over it. I lit a match and held it under the spoon and watched intently as the potion began to dissolve. Then, carefully, I sat the spoon down and picked up the syringe. I placed a small piece of cotton into the spoon and watched as it soaked up the contents. I drew the heroin up into the syringe and laid it back down onto the milk carton. I wrapped the sock around my arm just above the elbow, tied it tight, then picked up the needle. It didn't go in easy the first try nor the second, but I managed to get the vein and pushed th e concoctioninto my body. I felt it creep slowly up my arm and into my chest where it began to grow warm and suddenly the room seemed to soften and became more cheerful. And then I threw up.

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