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The Horse

Jonesy stepped back a little from the sight that appeared in the backyard before him.  He ran his arm across his face to wipe the sweat from his bleary eyes.  Was this really happening?  A rainbow arced its way across the sky, but rather than the usual seven colors, it was a solid purple.  A butterfly landed on his arm and pissed on it.  Its left wing broke off and fluttered in the gentle breeze to land in the tall grass below his feet.  It raised its right wing high in the air and took off, riding the wind like a lofty sailboat.  The deer further toward the tree line laughed at this sight, somehow finding it all comical.  It stood up on its hind legs and pointed a crooked finger at Jonesy.

“Deer don’t have fingers… Deer don’t have fingers… Deer don’t have fingers…” he repeated over and over to himself like a mantra.  And the more he repeated it, the more his legs drip-dripped until he sank into the puddle that they made around him.  He was drowning in his own leg juice.


He said to himself, and snapped out of it, a little, although the violet rainbow still hung stiff in the sky like a permanent stain in the atmosphere.

He didn’t know why he took the acid; he hated the shit.  Wait, it was all coming back to him now.  He took it because his dad had run off with all of his heroin.

He went back indoors and re-read the note his father had left for him.  The words were violently dancing across the page, but he was able to follow them around enough so he could read it again.

“Dear Jonesy, I went with Kim.  Took your smack.  Love you.  Pops.”

Who the fuck was Kim?  She must be the new Taiwanese whore that he’d been seeing.  That bitch!  Not that he had a problem with his father running off with whores of any Asian descent, but she was obviously a junkie.  His father didn’t shoot heroin anymore, since he’d found his new drug of choice: vitamin C.  Ever since he’d discovered it, he’d gone on and on and on about how great he felt, how healthy.  How much energy he had.  He’d tried to get Jonesy hooked on the stuff, but he didn’t like the way it made him feel violently ill.

So damn his father, and damn the whore!

He gave his room another once-over, turning this thing over, moving that thing, running around like a crazed madman. Ever since he was three years old, man, all he’d ever wanted was heroin.  The smack, the horse, the black tar, junk, H, Charley, poppy, Old Steve, chiva, Good and Plenty, etc., etc.  He loved the stuff so much, he wanted to marry it, but George Bush wouldn’t allow that sort of union.  Marriage was between a man and a woman, case closed.

He restlessly ransacked the room.  Needle, needle, needle, syringe.  Nothing to put in them.  Fuck!  Fuck a duck!  Wait.  Duck.  That’s it!  The duck!  He raced to his closet, and there, in a little forgotten corner that still had his old duck wallpaper over it, behind the wall, was a little cubby.  And there, in that little cubby, was his emergency stash.  He’d had this stash for quite a while, and he wasn’t sure if heroin aged well like a fine wine, or if it got old and rank like bad weed.  Either way, it was junk, and junk was junk to a junkie like him.  He contemplated using it right then and there.  No, he thought.  I can hold out.  He would need this stash to take with him where he was going, but right now the remains of the acid in his bloodstream was not allowing him to remember just where that was.

The clock said 5:02.  He was expecting something, he knew that much.  But what?

RINGGGG RINGGGG! Went the fucking phone.  Why did the phone always have to ring at a time like this?  He was on the verge of a breakthrough.  A thought was teetering in his head like a lonely suicide victim on the edge of a cliff.  And now


and it’s gone.

The clock said 5:04 now.


Will somebody shut that goddamned thing up?  Why on earth did it make that terrible sound?  To him it sounded like an ominous noise in a horror movie, one that was always meant to jump you, and then make you breathe a sigh of relief right before the real scare happened.  Well he wasn’t going to fall for its tricks.

Not this time.


5:07 now.  5:07 and it hadn’t stopped for a full five minutes.  It must have rung a hundred times or so.  Why won’t it stop?


“What!?!” he answered.

“Hey, Jonesy.  It’s Ben.”

Ben, Ben, Ben.  Who the fuck was Ben?



“I’m sorry, I…”

“Ben Smythe.”


“You have no idea who I am, do you?”

“Am I supposed to?”

“Uh, your buddy Ben.”


“Ben.  We’ve gone to school together since the second grade Ben.  You’ve been to my house to swim in my pool Ben.  I’m inviting you to my cabin next week Ben.”

“Ben.  I’m sorry, man.  I’m just tripping.”

“Oh.  I thought you were kidding around.”

“No, I mean I am literally tripping right now, and I’m not enjoying it.”

“Oh.  Anyway, I was just calling to see if you were all psyched to go and shit.”

“Oh yeah.  Can’t wait.  Listen, Ben, can I call you tomorrow, if I ever come down from this?  Right now I’m a little edgy.”

“No need, my man.  Just be ready Friday at 8 A.M. sharp.  I’ll be picking you up then.”

He hung up, relieved.  He was not in the mood for talking to anyone right now.  Ben. Of course he knew Ben.  He wasn’t exactly what Jonesy would call a buddy, per se, but he supposed they were friendly enough that he could be considered a friend.  But not a buddy.  Jonesy had no buddies.  So that’s what he had planned.  He was going to Ben’s mother’s cabin for ten days, with a bunch of other kids.  A good way to spend a week, he supposed.  Anything to get away from this hellhole.

Ben’s cabin, here we come!


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