Jones wasn’t wrong. I needed to quit huff. It gave me heart palpitations. Made me sweat. Wore me out. I wasn’t about to tell him all that though. I didn’t need another lecture from my little green mother substitute.
Quit huff? Sounds easy…until you realize that for an addict, giving up halminotrin is like giving up water, air, or a spot of the old slap and tickle with a tri-breasted space babe. Don’t even get me started on the quadruple sets. That’s almost too many.
I’d scored a new inhalator and a huff slab from my host’s warehouse. I sat on a cot and stared at them. They were inanimate objects and yet it felt like they were calling me, luring me, drawing me in, making me feel like I couldn’t do anything else until I got some of that good stuff into my body.
No. I pushed them away and laid back. I freed my mind and let it wander. Unfortunately for me, it never failed to make three stops on memory lane:
1. Me, as a little boy, staring helplessly as a man that looks exactly like my father shoots my mother, then ransacks the house, looking for my sister and I. I’m confused as there is another man who looks like my father lying dead on the floor. I sit there for what feels like forever until a man with a handlebar mustache takes me away.
2. That man leaves me with Master Ashakti, who trains me in Umquai, the greatest of all shai martial arts. Best part of Umquai? It turns you into an all out bad ass fighting machine. Worst part? It also turns you into a depressed nihilist. “Everything in life is fleeting so stop caring.” That way of thinking makes you a good killer but a useless being. It also led me to killing someone I wish I hadn’t, so much so his dead eyes haunt me in my dreams. Sometimes I care too much. Not all that nihilism rubbed off on me. I wish it had. I could sleep like a baby.
3. Handlebar Mustache Man returns when I’m a man, recruits me to his unit and my incompetence leads to first woman I ever loved being killed.
What you need to understand, noble reader, is that other than to explain why I’m a hopeless junkie, these recollections have little to do with the story at hand. If you’re moved by my words, maybe one day I’ll explain how it all ties in together.
As for Handlebar Mustache Man? He is a recurring player from my past who still makes the occasional cameo in my present. I’m torn as to whether or not that’s a good thing. I try not to think about it.
Scratch that. I try not to think about any of it. Thus far, huff is the only substance I’ve discovered that allows me to do so.
I sit back up. The inhalator and the white, gritty halminotrin slab are still there.
And the dance begins.
The thoughts that get me in trouble:
No one has a right to tell me to stop. No one but me could ever possibly understand what I’ve been through.
I need it. I deserve it. I’ll be fine. Of the 97.5 percent of huff/rejuvatrix mixers who die horrible deaths, I’ll be one of the lucky 3.5% who survive.
I’ll just have a little bit.
OK. I’ll have a lot. But I’m going to quit tomorrow, I swear. And since I’m quitting tomorrow, I might as well live it up with one last huff.
F%$k it. I need to sleep. Stop debating yourself and huff that shit already.
I grab a bottle of water from the table by my bed and pour it into the tray. I break off a few crumbles, smash them up and drop in the dust. I swirl the tray around, mixing it all together nicely. The tray goes in. The switch is turned. The little motor chugs. Mask on face. I do look like a fighter pilot with sleep apnea but who gives a shit?
I’m like a stranger in my own skin. Lighter than air. No cares. No worries. I’m the nihilist Master Ashakti always told me to be.
There’s even a unicorn bringing me a cake on its back. Mmm. Don’t mind if I do.