Rummaging, clawing through contents at the bottom of a flimsy sports bag, searching for cold metal, too impatient and too hurting to find another place, Drew glanced at the small green structure before him. One more quarter would buy him fifteen minutes in that smelly green sanctuary, but the lousy coin – he knew it was in bouncing around somewhere – was tormenting him, whispering –
You’ll not find me You’ll not find it You’ll not find him
“Shut up! You don’t know what you’re talking about!” he said out loud, barely noticing he’d just spoken to a coin, or a whisper, or something he knew nobody else could see or hear. He looked at the open door to the dark green public bathroom and considered for a moment ducking inside and leaving it open, but still maintained the presence of mind to avoid such an action, knowing the cops tended to check these bathrooms often because a lot of the street people had a tendency to try and use the toilets without depositing any coins to make the door shut.
Something cold grazed his fingertip. Spoon? No, already in my pocket. He traced its edge – ridged. That’s it! He grasped the quarter in his fist, scurried into the bathroom, combined the coin with another in his hand and inserted them into the slot on the bathroom wall. A whirring sound accompanied the closing of the small building’s sliding door, a light flickered on, and a clock on the wall began to count down from fifteen minutes.
Won’t need that long.
Simultaneously yanking a spoon from his pocket while sitting on the edge of the toilet seat, he couldn’t shake off the feeling that the whole environment was terribly familiar, and then there was the sensation that, despite the safety of a sealed door, people – those people out on the street, and even the people elsewhere, far away, and not so far – people who’s names he knew and people he’d never even seen before – they all somehow knew what he was up to.
They can see We can see He can see
Drew cursed as a rock of heroine fell from his pocket, landing on the floor beside the toilet. Of all the places to drop… He tried to hold down his revulsion at the fact he was about to deposit something in his body that he was now fishing off a floor that got pissed on all day. Least it’s still early. Maybe it’s clean. He deposited the rock onto his spoon, flicked a lighter and tried to lose himself in the flame as it liquefied white, crystalline comfort. Still there was the feeling that people knew what he was doing with the spoon and flame, and he didn’t know why that should matter since most everyone he knew could care less.
Oh, but he knows
But he does!
I don’t care.
White crystal was now white liquid, and he grabbed a syringe from his bag – he always knew where those were – and began to fill it. He glanced at the clock, counting down from twelve minutes now; the red digital numbers appeared condemning with their incessant drive toward zero.
Oh I am so ashamed of you, Andrew So ashamed, boy slut
Dropping the spoon, he held the needle to his arm and concentrated, tried not to shake because he couldn’t afford to miss a vein because he couldn’t end the torture soon enough because he couldn’t understand how he ever ended up in this hell, collapsing off a nasty toilet onto a nasty floor, and in eleven minutes he’d be out there again, wandering until night came when everybody would want a piece of him, but now it didn’t matter because
everything felt better.
He could have sworn, just before closing his eyelids and lying his head back against the toilet, that he saw a face…peering through the door, right there from the street with its painfully familiar, dejected expression and biting lower lip. Drew didn’t worry. The face would be gone soon – back to the depths where it belonged.
And the door was opening.