Posted by: marcusfox77 | April 24, 2010

Get in the ring

I had forgotten how hard it was. Kicking the habit.

In the darkness, I found my claws again. The throbbing shot back. And not just in my bowling ball head this time. This time, it struck all over. I fell to the ground and kissed it, accidentally, with my gums and some teeth. I spit blood and clutched my stomach. The nausea was sweeping over me and my groin was… inverting? What the fucking fuck? My razor-toothed claws of my savagery burst out of me! I screamed, I howled! I was an animal encaged and all of my paws were broken. Who was he? How dare he? But the worst thought was next: how dare I? How had I fallen so low to where I couldn’t even spot a predator? My heart clanged in my chest and I rolled over. I rolled again. I rolled again. And I rolled up onto a raggedy mattress. The only other thing (besides myself and the pain) in this steel barred cage was a lonesome aluminum bucket. I came across it whence once upon the cold darkness of that mattress, my legs kicked and flailed, striking the pail and knocking it into the bars with a loud, metallic clang. That was the noise that split my brain open.

The next hours were dark.
The next hours were very very dark.

And then Charlie was there, holding me as I vomited hellfire into the bucket. As soon as I noted his presence, I tried to land one across his jaw, thereby crushing his demon face. But that didn’t happen, really. It was just an illusion. As was the one engine jet plane soaring high in the sky. It was a clear blue day. I was standing on the beach. I was Kuwajii, watching the plane. Looking up and seeing that plane as it spouted forth a golden egg—no! It was a golden boy! He fell fast and his parachute wasn’t working. I ran, as Kuwajii, dark skinned and doomed, into the water. Baby boy Marcus was still falling and falling hard. I wouldn’t reach him, not before he crashed into the ocean. And then he plummeted more, always more, always falling. He never hit. Instead, my eyes splashed open and I was in the cage. Charlie was just outside, offering me his hand. I spit in it and curled back into bed.

The next hours were frightening. I thought I was through it. I thought I was coherent. Charlie had changed his shirt because, as he told me, I had thrown my own excrement at him. I smelled my hand. It was possible.

“I’m good now, Charlie.”

“No you’re not.”

“Yes. What? Why do you think…” I trailed off. A large cockroach was making it’s way up Charlie’s leg, up his trousers, onto his belt, up his chest and on his face. Charlie didn’t move a morsel, not even when the cockroach ate his eyeball.

I crashed to the floor and the next hours were not good.

This is the life of a junkie. Was I recovered? That was a holistic thought!

“No,” said Charlie. “but try some water.” His arm, through the bars, held a small wax cup with butterflies on it. I was transfixed by them. I could have broken his arm. It would have been so easy. He was offering me the shot at it. This man was a fool. But instead of breaking his bones, peeling them out of him, and using the splinters to pick the lock, I reached out and accepted the water.

“Thank you.” I said, and poured the contents over my face. A few drops went into my mouth and I swallowed. Those were all I needed. Even though I was parched.

Then I was sleeping. Or maybe hallucinating again. Maybe a little of both. But if it was a hallucination, it felt much dreamier than the past ones. It was my mother, glowing, here, in my cell. She had wings and she was weeping. Yes. What did it mean? Was she begging for my forgiveness? I’d never seen her like this. Never like anything like this. Pristine and shining with her sadness. She shook her head from side to side and told me to “shush.” For a moment I thought I’d make ammends. Just do it for no other reason than to see what would come out of it. To see if any weight might be lifted. To see if forgiveness mattered. But instead, I closed my eyes and she was gone.

The next hours were restful.

When I woke, the cage door was open, the lock was on the floor, and Charlie was dead in the far corner. No. That was a final mirage. The basement was empty.

I didn’t feel anything, which was better than any pain. I sat up slowly. Evidence of my detox was everywhere. I had turned my cell into a self-mocking bulimic artist’s life’s work. I left it feeling not the least twinge of pride.

Slowly I shuffled through the basement, noticing more than before. On a small table next to the ratty couch lay several magazines. Men with rifles. Interesting. On the heels of this visual discovery, I realized that I was able to see. Charlie had turned the lights back on. Charlie had left the cage door open. Charlie was up to something. A moment of panic was replaced quickly by my body’s desire to survive. Another good instinct back.

Maybe Charlie had helped me.

There were weapons everywhere. A shovel, pieces of lumber, a walking stick, a glass bowl, rocks of all sizes, table legs, broken glass in the corner, dark, discarded light bulbs in the mesh-wire trash container, the mesh-wire trash container. I handled the shovel and headed toward the light that was streaming down the stairs.

At the top, the doors were open. Charlie was sitting on the stoop, looking out at the sparsely tree-lined street. “Welcome back,” he spoke without turning. I had the shovel raised high to strike. “To the land of the living.” I lowered my weapon. “You are very welcome,” he said. So I sat down beside him.

Copywrite 2010, Marcus Fox



  1. […] Click here, but I assure you, it isn’t pretty. […]

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