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The House That Drugs Built (full version)

The House That Drugs Built (full version)

A Story by Mike Lamb
"

The following story takes place in the Fourth Circle of Hell as it exists in the world of Jack's Inferno.

"

The front lawn is an un-mowed jungle. The grass is waist high. The weeds are like razor wire.

A hideous monster of an oak tree looms in the front yard, threatening to snatch up anyone that wanders too close to its gnarled, twisted limbs. There's a face in the trunk. There's a mouth in the face. There are teeth in the mouth. There's blood on the teeth.

Past the tree stands the House. It's an architectural enigma, slanted and skewed at perplexing angles. It conforms to the strange shifting laws of an unknown alien geometry. It's a two story s**t-hole rat shack.

Three high-powered stereo systems are playing three different things simultaneously at full volume. There's a half-naked dead man sprawled out in the yard. He still has a beer in his hand. His corpse has been vandalized with permanent marker. There's a ripped-up old sofa on the front porch. It's on fire, because...why wouldn't it be? There's an axe stuck in the wall. A plastic pink flamingo hangs swinging from a chain-link noose.

Front door's wide open.

My only friend and guide through this cracktown ghetto nightmare is Cruz, the shady hustler I just met. Not that I have a problem with felons, but this guy's a total stranger. I keep a few paces behind him as he makes the introductions. The group gives me a lukewarm welcome at best, but that's more than I expected.

"Come on in, Jack. Meet the residents. That twitchy looking muthafucker over there with the shaved head goes by the name Evil Dave." He's cutting out rails of coke with a machete. That ain't normal. "The sleepy looking muthafucker on the couch with the ZZ Top beard and hair like a girl is Black Tar Harlan. Yo Harlan, watch your f*****g cigarette, man! You're burning holes in the carpet! Pay attention to that s**t! You trying to burn the house down?"

Harlan slurs out a few lines from "Burning Down the House" and then nods out. His cigarette slowly gravitates back down towards the floor.

"F*****g junkies, man. A'ight, who else we got. The big muthafucker dressed up like a Viking is...wait, who is that? I don't even know that guy."

The drunk Viking shouts, "I am Cromwell of the Fourth Couch!"

Evil Dave stops what he's doing for long enough to shoot the drunkard an angry glare and say, "Do you live here?"

"Is this not my puke on the floor? I believe that it is! So then I must be home!"

Harlan lifts his head slightly and says, "Yeah, dude. It's Cromwell. He's cool."

Cruz says, "What's up, Cromwell? Welcome to the casa. Help yourself to the fridge. I mean, the s**t's empty, but...we got ketchup packets. You need, like, a blanket or anything?"

"I require twelve virgins and a gallon of vodka!"

Cruz laughs and tells him, "Dude, we ain't even got six skanks and a shot of vodka."

Evil Dave says to Cruz, "Check the freezer."

"Come on, man, tell me you didn't chop some b***h up and put her in the freezer. We got enough heat on this place as it is. I ain't trying to--oh s**t, we got vodka!"

Evil Dave sizes me up and says, "So who's the stray, Cruz?"

"Oh, that's my boy Jack. He's hanging out."

"Did you check him for lice?"

"Nah, man. He's good."

Dave does a huge rail of coke, then makes a thoughtful scowl and tells me, "These are the house rules: one--you steal from us, you lose a hand. Two--you break anything and I'll smash your fingers with a hammer. Three--you spill bong water on the floor, we all punch you in the dick until you pass out. Any questions?"

"No sir."

"Good. And here, take a f*****g line, you're making me nervous."

"Yes sir." I hate to turn down hospitality. I take the whole rail in one breath and then tilt my head towards the ceiling with a gagging cough as my eyes rolls back. I brush my thumb and forefinger over my nostrils with a sniff to clear the excess powder. "Heavy s**t. You guys don't f**k around." My whole face goes numb. Oh God, it's starting to drain down my throat now. Oh, that's awful. That's bitter.

Cruz pours me a shot of Vladimir Vodka. I chase it with King Cobra. This is how blackouts usually start.

Evil Dave looks past me and shouts, "Hey! A*****e! Get the f**k out of my house!" He suddenly rises from his chair, keeping a white knuckle grip on the machete. There's an intense look in his eyes. The left side of his face twitches in a little angry nervous tic.

I really hope he's not talking to me. I turn around and check just to make sure there's someone else in the room getting yelled at. Sure enough, we got a sketched-out wreck of a man shuffling through the doorway. Caucasian male, about 5'8", 150-160lbs, mid-late forties. Blood is spilling on the carpet from a gash in his forehead.

"Hey, gimme a bandage!" the intruder says as he staggers into the living room. "Some kids up the road just beat the s**t outta me!"

Dave says, "Some people in this house are about to beat the s**t out of you."

"I just need to lay on your couch for a minute. Whaddya got to drink?"

Evil Dave walks across the room to intercept the uninvited guest.

"Hey it's really nice to meet you guys. My name's Stuart."

"Save it for the funeral, a*****e."

"Hey, c'mon man! Don't be like that, I had a rough day. Hey, you guys smoke weed? I got some good schwag!"

"I'm going to count to one. You might want to start running now."

Harlan interrupts them with, "Hang on a sec...you got weed?"

"Yeah man!"

Harlan hands Stuart the bong and says, "Load it!"

Dave cuts an angry stare at Harlan, who fails to notice. Stuart sits down on the couch. He digs into the front pocket of his jeans and pulls out half a joint, covered in lint and hair. He tears open the paper and stuffs the contents into the bong. Dave is looming over him the whole time, still gripping the machete and gritting his teeth.

Harlan swipes the bong from Stuart and takes the first hit. He starts coughing and passes the pipe over to Cruz. Stuart tries to argue but Cruz just shoves him and tells him to shut the f**k up. Stuart picks up an empty beer can off of the floor and crushes it in the middle. He stabs a little hole in it with a pen knife. He digs back into his pocket and pulls out a little white chunk of something. He sets the little white crumb over the hole in the can. He puts a flame to it. It smells awful. Yeah, it's crack.

Dave slaps the makeshift crack pipe out of Stuart's hand with the machete and shouts, "Alright crackhead, get the f**k outta here!"

Stuart gets offended and yells back, "I'm not a crackhead! I just like to smoke cocaine!"

"Fine. You're not a crackhead. You're an a*****e. Now get the f**k out before I stab you in the throat."

Stuart begins stumbling towards the door at an unhurried pace. "Okay! That's fine! Be that way! I know when I'm not wanted!"

"Apparently you f*****g don't."

Once Stuart is halfway out of the yard he yells, "Man, f**k you guys!" Dave throws a chair at him, striking him in the face and knocking him to the ground next to the oak tree. The oak tree smiles. It slips a snakelike root out of the ground and wraps it around the crackhead's leg. It drags Stuart closer to it's gaping wooden jaws and splintery teeth. Stuart tries to struggle but it's no use--the root's wrapped around him too tightly. He looks into the evil eyes of the hungry oak tree. He screams out in terror.

I think you can see where this is going.

Dave slams the front door and immediately starts griping. "Look at this s**t! F****r got blood everywhere!"

Cruz adds, "Yeah, he pissed on the couch, too."

Harlan says, "Oh good. I thought that was me for a minute."

The Viking is standing beside the freezer, drinking all the vodka. Dave looks around at everyone and grits his teeth. He shakes his head and storms off, disgusted. When Cruz tries to ask him a question, he just answers, "I'm going to go sharpen something. Don't bother me for a few hours."

We all sit around silently for a moment, then Cromwell lets out a roaring fart and declares himself a Thunder God.

Cruz and Harlan are on the couch taking bong hits, leaving me alone with my thoughts. I take a minute to scan the scene. The living room is a maze of abused furniture. There's an obligatory Scarface poster on the wall by the big screen television in the corner. The kitchen is a parasitic growth encroaching on the far end of the room. It has no walls of its own to separate it from the main room; the carpet and the linoleum are at war for territory. There's pornography stuck to the fridge with magnets. The whole place is filthy, but in a proud, almost respectable way. The trash strewn about is an understandable side effect to the lifestyle of the group. These are not weekend drunks. These men are professionals.

"Yo Jack, hit this."

Deep breath. Pause. Cough.

Rolling hills of crushed beer cans form a microcosmic landscape that must seem like a magnificent sprawling junkyard when viewed by an insect. Heaps of cigarette ash rest on the carpet like snowdrifts. Beer cases standing on end and stacked off in the corner form a metropolis of cardboard skyscrapers overlooking the aluminum wastelands. The kitchen sink is a deadly poison well where countless civilizations of bacteria are born and bred, only to be wiped out by the wrath of the Bleach God once a month. The dirty dishes are stacked as high as the Tower of Babel. Atop the wooden cabinets is the liquor bottle collection, a glass city in the sky extending for miles along the horizon, as radiant as the glimmering towers of Heaven. On the edge of the world where the floor meets the wall is the House of Moving Pictures. Static dances across the glass eye of the idiot box as the great television god sleeps. A devout cockroach clings to the face of the electric video temple, awaiting prophecies of porn and visions of violence, so that he may tell the others what God has shown him. And though he may not fully understand the true nature of high speed car chases, or the significance of long pointless shower scenes, or the reasons why men are sometimes thrown out of windows, or even the basic primal need for tremendous flaming explosions, he will still understand in the very core of his being that he has been somehow enlightened. And he will come down from the mountain like a six-legged Moses and travel back through the wastelands and return to the cardboard city, and he will tell his fellow roaches of his divine visions. And none will understand any of it, but all will pretend to.

Christ, I really lost myself on that one, huh? Sorry about that. Sometimes I let my metaphors get so far away from me that they have a tendency to just completely spiral off into madness. I don't even remember what I was talking about anymore.

A vision suddenly appears on the television. Behold, God awakens and changes the channel. It is a lucid dream of the apocalypse. It shows the destruction of the world at the hands of...Godzilla.

That's weird, no Japanese people. Must be an American remake. The special effects are incredible. And real explosions too, none of that digital crap.

"And that's the scene in downtown Dis Cocytus right now. Apparently another crisis is going on over at Pestilence Laboratories, but rest assured armed forces are on the way to deal with the situation ASAP. Back to you, Ron." "Thanks, Tammy. That's some hard-hitting journalism from our newest reporter, Tammy Wang-Chung. You make it look easy, Tammy." "Thanks Ron, I do my best." "Sexy stuff. Alright, let's go to Skip with the weather!"

Wait...this is the news? I turn to Cruz and ask, "Iz'at real?"

He's says, "Yeah," in a cloud of smoke.

"Damn."

"Yeah."

My God, we're desensitized.

"...So bring an umbrella." "Alright, thanks Skip. Good advice. And in other news...DRUG RAID! A local Mayan temple was raided by DEA agents this morning in connection with their so-called 'Sacred Garden', which contained over one hundred types of previously undiscovered plant-life, allegedly used for 'medicinal purposes' and 'curing diseases'. But that's not all they're used for. Dennis Mason has the full story. Dennis?"

"Thanks Ron. I'm here with Gunnar Stumplecock of the Drug Enforcement Agency. So Gunnar, tell us about the raid this morning." "It wuz real good." "Fantastic, glad to hear it! Do you think you could elaborate on that for the folks at home?" "I shot a man in the foot." "Okay, super! Is there someone else we can speak with? You sir, what is your name? Would care to discuss this morning's raid with our viewing audience?"

"Yeah, Mickey Wolf, DEA. Yeah, everything went off without a hitch, smoother than a silk baby's a*s. Couldn'na asked for a better day. This Mayan bust was a real godsend. Morale is way up. We took some heavy losses on that whole Aztec thing, and we really needed a strong win to get back in the game."

"That's great to hear, you sound really positive. For those of you unfamiliar with the situation, a similar raid was attempted earlier this week on the Southside Aztec community, but was withdrawn after the first wave of K-9 units mysteriously exploded and a fifty-foot-tall fire-breathing Aztec warrior demon appeared on the scene taunting DEA agents and local police in an unknown language."

"He was a hundred feet tall, but otherwise, yeah, that's how it went down. I ain't never seen nothing like it. I mean...the f-[BLEEP]-ing dogs just exploded, for Christ's sake. Some sh-[BLEEP] like that'll take the brass outta your balls in a heartbeat. And I've been doing this f-[BLEEP]-ing job for twenty f-[BLEEP]-ing years. I deal with all kinds of scum--terrorists, hippies, Negro-Americans, you name it. But, hey...f-[BLEEP] the Aztecs, right? That was last week. This week we're back on top. These Mayans, y'know, buncha dopers, every last one of 'em. High as a kite, trying to talk to God. It's enough to make you sick. But they ain't so tough. They ain't so tough at all."

"Alright, good to know. So how many did you round up?"

"Oh, I'd say, uh...all of 'em. Yeah, we got 'em all."

"All the Mayans in the city?"

"No, in the world. So, uh, y'know...just go ahead and close that chapter, right?"

"Now...are you sure that was absolutely necessary?"

"What are you, queer?"

"Okay, that was Mickey Wolf. Back to you, Ron."

Cruz says, "S**t, the Mayans got popped! That was my best weed hook-up!"

I tell him, "You could always just go to the Aztecs."

"Like hell! Those muthafuckers are crazy! Those fuckers would drink my blood from your skull." He hands me the bong and says, "Hit this."

As smoke fills my lungs I get a flash of memory, chased by a half-formed insight on the heels of a blurry epiphany. I keep losing track of my thoughts. "I don't get it," is the most I can verbalize the feeling with.

Cruz looks up and says, "Don't get what?"

"Any of it. Hell. Death. Reality. The afterlife. I know that I died. I remember it...sort of. And I know that this is Hell. I think. But none of it makes any sense."

"See, that's your problem, Jack. You're trying to separate everything. Life, afterlife, Earth, Hell...it's all the same s**t. Me and you both probably died a million times already. Cash out in one world, you pack up your soul and go somewhere else. The deeper you get, the more you forget."

"Huh. I never thought of it that way."

"That's 'cuz you ain't been smokin' enough weed, son."

"I guess. Hell's a lot weirder than I expected."

"Dude, Hell's like any other world. It's full of stupid people with stupid ideas. Stupid ideas are like bricks, and everyone wants to make a f*****g skyscraper. Pretty soon the dumb s**t just takes over. All kinds of dumb s**t. S**t that makes no sense at all. And you can always tune that s**t out once you get used to it, but now you still gotta deal with the crazy s**t. And crazy s**t is everywhere. Then once you get past that, you got the really fucked up s**t to deal with. Let's say you were in, like, biblical times. Livin' in the desert. Ridin' a camel to work. Goin' fishin' with Jesus and s**t. One day you just step into a muthafucking time warp. Bam, what the f**k, you're at McDonald's with f*****g Grimace trying to sell you french fries and you're like what the f**k is that thing?! Suddenly you got all new dumb s**t to get used to. I mean, Grimace? That's some next-level dumb s**t to lay on a prophet. That s**t would end up in Revelations with Big Bird and the f*****g Teletubbies."

"I'd read that."

"Yeah, prophets make everything sound cool."

I nod in agreement. "Those guys were f*****g twisted. And I always thought Hell was just being on fire a lot."

"That's prophets for you, dude. Always gettin' hung up on the negative s**t. I mean, yeah, there's a lot of it, but...damn. Lighten up once in a while. No matter where we are, we're always gonna be in the middle. Always something better, always something worse. I'll bet kids in Heaven are afraid they'll go to Earth when they die."

"They'd have to get s**t jobs and pay taxes. I wonder what Heaven's like."

Cruz exhales a series of smoke rings and asks, "Cloud Heaven or Space Heaven?"

"Uhh...let's start with Cloud Heaven."

"Man, Cloud Heaven's a f*****g joke. If that s**t's real, I'll bet it sucks a*s. We'd be sitting in some f*****g big white lobby while some b***h with a fake smile was processing our applications, and some dude in a white suit's on the computer doing criminal background checks. And we can't say s**t about s**t 'cuz they got video footage and audio recordings of our thoughts. And they're all like, yeah I gotta check with my supervisor first. And then, even if we make it in, what are we gonna do all day? Sing in a f*****g choir? Pick flowers? Play tennis? Or f*****g Monopoly? F**k that. We'd be like fish trying to live in the sky."

"Well what about Space Heaven?"

"Oh, now that's some crazy-a*s black hole Cthulu s**t. That s**t's all aliens and space dragons and pharaohs with laser guns."

"Cool."

"Hell yeah."

Harlan stirs from his nod long enough to say, "Your mother's a black hole."

Cruz spins around and shouts, "Muthafucker, you still awake? I thought you f*****g O.D.'d over there. Hey where'd that Viking go?"

"He's out in the yard. Said something about building a ship. Quit trying to skip me and hand over the bong."

There's a loud knock at the door. More visitors. Cruz opens the front door and greets the new group of drunks on the porch. Three men, early twenties, vehemently drunk and rowdy. Military haircuts. Marines, fresh from the war in...somewhere. A case of beer in each hand; between the three of them that makes six cases, or one hundred and forty four beers. This could prove interesting.

Cruz makes the introductions. The big one is Jackson. The skinny one is Jericho. The stocky one is Dixon. We all shotgun beers with them, as is our custom. Then come more vodka shots, as is our custom. I finish off the King Cobra and grab a fresh Busch Light.

"Where's the p***y?" shouts Dixon.

"We got some b*****s on the way, man," Cruz says. "Relax."

"Where's the porn?" shouts Jericho.

"On the DVD rack with everything else."

"Where's the drugs?" Jackson asks.

"Everywhere, son. Everywhere. Yo Harlan, grab a clean plate."

Harlan gives Cruz a bewildered look and says, "Clean? You're joking, right?"

"Ah, s**t...Harlan, go wash a plate."

"Yeah, I'll get right on that."

Cruz looks at the pile of mold-slimed dishes, then at Harlan nodding out on the couch with the bong in his hand, then back at the dishes. He lets out a deep sigh and says, "Yo Harlan, here's ten bucks. Go buy a clean plate from somewhere."

Harlan perks up at the sight of cash. "Yeah, no problem." And just like that he's up and out the door.

Cruz turns to the marines and asks how the war's going. "I know you murderous muthafuckers got some messed up stories."

Jericho, the skinny one, says, "This f****r's got a story. Hey Dixon, tell Cruz about all those people you accidentally killed with a 50 cal. machine gun."

"I sneezed! I couldn't help it!"

"You mowed down fifty people! All lined up, screaming We surrender! You just chopped the fuckers in half! There was blood everywhere! I thought I was in movie with Rambo! Don't f**k with Dixon! He's a killer! Dixon don't take no prisoners!"

"I told you, man...I sneezed. Anyway, you're the one that keeps sniping all the women and children. You can wipe out a playground, but as soon as some real s**t goes down your a*s is asleep and we're all down in the dirt getting shot up."

"Dude, you know I have narcolepsy. What about Jackson? That f****r shot a cab driver in the head for no reason!"

Jackson explains that he only photographed a friend shooting a cab driver, he didn't shoot him personally. He laughs briefly at the memory, then becomes solemn and mutters something to the effect of War is Hell.

Cruz pauses for a moment before saying, "That's some fucked up s**t, dude. I mean, that's some serious crimes against humanity type s**t. You're all terrible people and you should be ashamed of yourselves. Do they give you guys medals for that kinda s**t?" One of them pulls out a medal and Cruz says, "Damn, that s**t's nice as hell! You wear that out to the clubs? I would, that s**t's hot. Oh yeah, check it--we just stole a new grill, so you b*****s gotta bring some steaks next time."

Five seconds after Jericho puts on a porno flick, three girls in half-shirts and short skirts walk in through the front door. There's a flush of embarrassment in his face until one of the girls says, "Is this Clockwork Orgy? I love this movie! Look at that b***h's tits, they look like f*****g balloons. I'll bet she got her tits done at the circus by a f*****g clown. I wonder if her b**b would pop if somebody punched it. Then she'd have to go blow another clown to fix it." Then the girl looks at me and says, "Hey, I know you!" Dark hair, dark eyes, lots of piercings and a familiar face. Wait, I know this one. She frowns and says, "You don't remember my name, do you?"

"What? Of course I...no. Please don't be mad."

"It's Liz, you a*****e. God, I remembered your name, Jake."

"Jack."

"Really? I thought--Cruzzie!" She sees Cruz and leaps up to hug him with a squeal of delight. He spins her half a turn and gently sets her down on the couch.

Another round of vodka shots. More beers all around.

Cruz, with his drug dealer charm, instantly persuades Liz to wash the dishes. He gives her a key bump of coke just to get the ball rolling. Dixon suddenly blurts outs, "You should wash dishes naked!" Cruz tells her she doesn't have to, unless of course she wants to, in which case, yes, that would be hot. Everyone in the room, including the girls, agrees that, yes, it would be hot.

"Can I keep my underwear on?" she asks.

"I don't see why not."

God, I love exhibitionists.

Within a minute we have a clean plate available. Harlan has not yet returned from his mission. Cruz prepares the mixture. He sets the plate down on the coffee table. It's a multicolored mountain of powder. Cocaine. Amphetamine pills. Three types of ecstasy. Zanax. Oxycotin. Each line he cuts out is roughly the size of my pinky finger.

Holy s**t. I'm not intimidated, but I'm certainly impressed. Liz is visibly thrilled and squirming like a child opening presents. The marines start off the circle.

Sitting beside Liz are two girls I've never met. One is a stunningly beautiful dark skinned brunette with a sexy smile and a perfect body. The other is dirty blonde and unspectacular in every way. Until corrected, I shall name them Hot Girl and Considerably-Less-Hot Girl, respectively.

My turn at the plate comes around. I snort a rail and my head explodes. I pass the plate to Hot Girl. Dixon looks at her and says, "Hey, can I see your tits?"

Hot Girl takes a line and says, "No."

"How about just one?"

"Liz is in her underwear and there's a porno on TV, but you want to see my tits."

"You smell pretty. Hey, can I f**k you later? I'm really good. I've got references."

Jericho interrupts him with, "Hookers don't count."

"Bullshit! Hookers count double."

Hot Girl makes a face and tells them, "Look, no one's f*****g me later, okay?"

Dixon gives her a very serious look and says, "Wow, that sucks for you. You must be a very sad and lonely person. I feel sorry for you. Hey can I borrow one of your shoes for ten minutes?"

Considerably-Less-Hot Girl says, "You can have mine!" as she offers up one of her shoes.

Liz snorts a line and says, "Are you gonna jack off in her shoe? Ohmigod, you're gonna jack off in her shoe, aren't you? Don't give him your shoe."

"But he said he'd give it right back! Here you go." C.L.H. Girl hands her shoe to the marine and he leaves the room grinning.

The big marine then apologizes to the girls for the crude, uncivilized behavior of his companions. The skinny marine follows up this statement with a request to see Hot Girl's tits, "now that the a*****e's gone."

Hot girl (I swear I'd use her name if I knew it) covers the top half of her face with her hand and says, "Okay, who here can tell me what color my eyes are? No one?"

I tell her, "Deep blue-green, with little flecks of amber around the pupil." Her jaw drops as she pulls out a compact mirror to verify my answer.

Liz smiles and says, "That was f*****g hot."

The girl with one shoe then decides to jump in the game shouting, "What color are my eyes?"

"I don't know. Purple?"

"My eyes aren't purple!"

"Orange? Whatever, who cares." Yeah, I'm a dick. Sorry.

The plate comes back around my way. I snort a rail and my head explodes.

Cruz gets up and says, "Anybody need another beer?"

BLACKOUT

...pulling her hair while I f**k her doggy-style. She sucks my thumb for a minute, then makes a little moan of pleasant surprise as I gently slide it into her a*****e. Wait, how did I get here? Who's bed is this? How long has this been going on?

"Harder! Don't stop! I'm gonna cum!" Well, you heard the lady. Her pelvis goes into convulsions as she hits a screaming orgasm and breaks the handcuffs. Apparently she was handcuffed. I press up against her until the last wave passes over her sweat-soaked body and she stops quivering. She rolls over and collapses on her back. She takes a moment to catch her breath, then whispers, "Cum on my tits." Well, you heard the lady.

And, I'm spent. Okay, on to the next order of business--who is this naked person that I have just Rorshach'ed with seminal fluid? It's not Liz. It's not Hot Girl. Now I remember. Hello, third prize. "Well, I suppose you'll be needing a towel."

She says, "No, I just used your shirt." That's not my shirt. Someone's gonna be mad. She retrieves her panties from the floor and says, "S**t, I gotta go. I told my boyfriend I'd be home three hours ago. You were incredible, by the way."

"Thanks. It was really nice meeting you."

"Yeah, same here."

I get dressed and head for the fridge to get a fresh beer. As the girl is leaving, Harlan shouts after her, "Hey, where are you going? I already called next!" Then to me he says, "Who was that chick, anyway?"

"I was hoping you knew. I wonder if Cruz knows her name. Eh, it's not really important."

"Oh yeah, that reminds me...if you see Cruz...tell him, I got his plate...but...I lost it...'cuz the cops were chasing me...and they had dogs...and...uh...one of 'em bit me. So I broke the plate over his head."

"Okay, I'll pass that on."

"Then the cops all jumped me, but I bested them in hand-to-hand combat. And I stole their cop car. And I set it on fire. And I drove it into the ocean."

"I'll be sure to mention that."

"So then I had to hitch a ride back from the beach, and I got abducted by aliens."

"Let's just go with the short version, Harlan. You're not gettin' a book deal outta this."

"I didn't spend the money on heroin. In case he asks. I didn't. Tell him about the dog."

Walking away I tell him, "Dog, got it. Not heroin."

I decide to explore the house. I turn a corner and open a door. I'm looking into an impossibly long hallway of a bathroom. The toilet is at least twenty feet away from the door. The room is occupied by a dozen people, all engaged in various different activities. There's a man passed out in vomit in the prison-style stand-up shower cubicle. Strangers are f*****g on the toilet. There's a girl pissing in the sink. Dixon's jacking off into a high heel shoe. People are doing lines of assorted crushed up pills off the countertop. I stroll in far enough to snort a quick line without invitation, nod thanks, and exit the room before anyone has the chance to get seriously uncomfortable with my presence.

I head upstairs. It's like trying to climb an escalator the wrong way. The ascent is much more ambitious than I realized. It goes up forever and there's a strange melting slant to the staircase. Each step warps under my footsteps, sending out hallucinatory liquid ripples. This is normal. If I stare at anything long enough, it's bound to melt. That's just one of the little quirks in my vision, though I've never mentioned it to an eye doctor.

BLACKOUT

...candlelight and Led Zepplin. There's a guy shooting up. There's another guy freebasing something, crack or crank. There's a girl asking me for a ride to the methadone clinic in exchange for free syphilis. There's a half empty bottle of rum in my hand, and I don't know where it came from.

BLACKOUT

"...and that's why the government wants me dead." Evil Dave stares at me intently, awaiting a response.

"Well, hey, I mean, uh...you did what you had to, right?"

"Exactly. I'm glad you understand. That line's all you, by the way."

"Oh, thanks."

"I mean, I'm not f*****g crazy. I had no choice. You would've killed him too, right?"

"Uhh..."

BLACKOUT

...at least a hundred people in the front yard, drunk and crazy. There's loud music, stray dogs, the smell of booze, and a girl that can breathe fire using Bacardi 151 and a torch. Cromwell is beating someone to death with a beer keg.

BLACKOUT

...pissing on the stereo. Cromwell is in the kitchen wrestling with a policeman.

BLACKOUT

How did I get on the roof? Did I sleep here?

Cruz climbs out the window to join me and says, "You awake yet? Let's hit the bar, I got some debts to collect."

© 2012 Mike Lamb


Author's Note

Mike Lamb
Early draft of a chapter from Jack's Inferno Volume Two.

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Reviews

Powerful wonderfully descriptive. I will be reading more of your work before i go to bed tonight.

Posted 9 Years Ago


My attourney has advised me to label this story as "fiction."

Posted 10 Years Ago


Hell seems so familiar when you say it Mike.
I almost bought a set of stereo speakers from a group of guys like this in an apartment like this... except one of the speakers didn't work and the drunk shirtless guy cleaning a F'ing huge .45 on the coffee table intimidated me.
Going a little Kafka-esque with the cockroach on the television was..... um...... almost pornographic.....
The blackout treatment was effective when and where you used it.
I wish I could first or second draft as well as this.



Posted 10 Years Ago


Druggies always have the best philosophies to share. It's proabably why shamans and medicine men in the old days got so high before they did their thing. Excellent work old chum. Please continue to regale us with your thrilling stories about the afterlife.

Posted 10 Years Ago


For some reason, there's a line break during the newscast segment (after the f-, before the bleep) that shouldn't be there and can't be fixed in the edit section. Huh.

Posted 10 Years Ago



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Added on September 24, 2010
Last Updated on March 15, 2012

Author

Mike Lamb
Mike Lamb

greenville, NC



About
Artist, writer, and a drunken lunatic prophet. I am the author of Jack's Inferno, a dark comedy bizarro/horror novel about Hell, previously published through Wordplague (now defunct). I am also a pro.. more..

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