You can read part one of this entry here.
I come to sitting on the living room couch. It’s time to leave for work. Despite the clouds outside the tall windows and high ceilings in the loft allow for plenty of ambient light. It’s almost too bright. The apartment is disgusting. You can clearly see a sheen of dirt on the hardwood floors. My rush is over. Not that it was all that much of a rush to begin with. I’m in maintenance mode. I shot just about a half a bag of dope a couple of hours ago. Which is really not very much, but it’s the state of the state these days. It beats withdrawal.
Now I’m just regular. Not high, but not dope-sick either. I’ve got 8 hours of work ahead of me. Maybe my boss, Thomas will let us go home early because it’s the day before Christmas Eve. Tomorrow I’ll catch a Peter Pan bus to New England. First though, I need to get and cash my paycheck and then score enough drugs to get me through a trip home to see the family. What a disaster. Why do I even bother?
Warren, up in his loft – it overlooks the living room – shouts through an exaggerated yawn, “Ooooohhhhhh!” It’s his way of announcing he’s getting up for the day. Bill is still asleep in the nook behind the kitchen. He will sleep through till nighttime if we let him. Combine heroin and his natural 15-year-old sleeping habits and that’s what you get, a person who has no problem sleeping for 14, 16, even 18 hours at a stretch.
There’s a pile of dog crap in the middle of the living room floor that is probably hours old at this point. We really shouldn’t be pet owners. If you are going to sleep for 12 hours straight, you should make arrangements for the poor dog to poop.
Warren comes down the loft steps and, bleary eyed, makes his way over to the couch. He’s barefoot, in a t-shirt and boxer shorts. He somehow looks paler than normal. Considering that it’s December in New York, that’s pretty pale. He’s got tightly wound blond hair and his skin is a ghostly, almost translucent shade of white. Even the freckles on his face, but particularly the ones on his legs, look washed out. Pale freckles on pale skin, he’s über-pale.
Once the 3 of us were out at a party and a woman approached Warren. She asked him what it was like to be an albino black man. His brother (that’s Bill) and I had a good laugh about that. Warren didn’t see the humor in it. That should go some ways in allowing you to imagine his grey pallor. In reality, I think he’s of Scottish ancestry.
I’m watching the 3rd or 4th half hour cycle of CNN headline news. I really need to rally and get my sorry ass to work.
“Hotep left you a good morning present.” I tell Warren. “Make that a good afternoon present.”
“Ah, so I see – thank you, Hotep. Very generous of you.” Warren says to the dog. Hotep is curled up on one of the reconditioned couch cushions beside me. Hotep is the pit-bull Warren bought as a puppy from a drug dealer named Caesar here in the neighborhood. When the dog got to be about 6 months old, he dug out the stuffing in the living room couch cushions. For the past few months the couch, our main gathering area has been a disaster. Almost all of the cushions are hollowed out just-so, the perfect size for hosting a curled up 50 pound pit-bull. Warren just recently paid to get the cushions re-done. So far, so good. Hotep has yet to reconfigure them (with the stuffing on the outside). We are hoping the dog’s sense of interior decorating has matured.
Warren is not angry at the dog about the poop. He knows it’s his own damn fault.
“Bill was high again last night.” I tell him.
“Awww man.” Warren shakes his head. “I thought so, but I just couldn’t deal.”
It feels hypocritical to be ratting on Bill to his older brother, but the kid is 15. I’m fairly sure Bill has the day off from school today, but it’s also entirely possible that he’s skipping class and just sleeping the school day away.
Warren and I are both 20 years old and in college. I am addicted to heroin. I have to use daily or I will suffer. I don’t know if Warren has a habit. He uses regularly but doesn’t shoot up. He may not be up to daily use just yet. No doubt he will be, in time.
It’s a delicate situation with Bill. He came to live with us last year and he’s started using hard drugs alongside us. We don’t have a leg to stand from a disciplinary point of view.
“Don’t do drugs,” sounds pretty hollow when you say it with a spike in your arm.
Warren got Bill out of a bad situation with their father up in Boston and moved him down here with us. He got Bill enrolled in a private high school uptown, rented this loft on Avenue C with room for the three of us, etc. etc. but all is not going smoothly with Bill’s transition to New York. He’s circling the drain rather quickly. We try to keep him away from cocaine and heroin, but it’s not working.
I fear, no actually I know, I am playing a part in the boy’s decline but… fuck, Flavor-flav’s got problems of his own.
“You going up to Massachusetts today?” I ask Warren as I finish tying my boot-laces.
“Tomorrow.” Warren says.
“Me too. See you tonight then. I’ll be home the usual time.”
I get up, grab my jacket, pet the dog and walk out of the reinforced apartment door, careful not to let it slam behind me. I wouldn’t want to wake Bill.
From the sidewalk out on 4th street, the city-scape looks like a derelict, post-apocalyptic ghost town. You half expect to see a tumble-weed roll past. It’s not the coldest day in the world, but even now at 2 in the afternoon, it feels like there’s all of 10 minutes more daylight left to the day. So much for feeling Christmas-ey. Shit is Bleak. Bleak. Bleak.
Apparently this is becoming a series – read part three of “Christmas is Coming” here.