Sometimes “mainline” is a train whose momentum just can’t be stopped. If you blink at the map of all the routes of any railway, does it not resemble the topography of veins beneath the skin?
by Spike Ties
Nothing could end well for us.
We’d just been a bunch of wide-eyed kids hanging out in the backroom; twenty minutes later we were in the shooting gallery a few blocks from the school. Six years and forty minutes later, a part of each and every single one of us had been buried, locked up, or shot. It wasn’t hard. It started with a sip, and then a drink. Then we started reaching for the needles; just a few lines later we were on the streets, homeless and out of work.
Your parents always tell you not to, your teachers and your straight-laced friends, too. We heard every single word they said- and we were scared. They didn’t seem pompous. No, they actually made perfect sense. Destroying yourself from the inside out, skipping classes, failing high school: these were all the things we weren’t supposed to do. That wasn’t the hard part. The hard part was the stress of homework- English, history, science, math- looking for colleges, playing an instrument, being on a sports team. That was what made us scared to live. It made us long for that special spit-second before you woke up in the morning. You know, that gray haze where you had no idea who you were, or what soul-crushing responsibilities you had.
After all of that, you wonder if anything you did was for pleasure anymore, or if was all just a meaningless grind.
Imagine all of that going away. Imagine finding something in the world that made everything else worth it. It sounds fake, I know; drugs sure seemed like science fiction to me too. After all the stuff we did, the least any of us could’ve asked for were just a few minutes out of the day to forget. Right? Minutes stretched to hours and hours to long nights sweating bullets. We were complacent and pacified, but happy.
The last we saw each other was at senior prom. Our “wide eyes” were half shut, baked out of our minds; strobe lights and ambient music flooded the gymnasium with multicolored glare and indistinct sound. We stumbled, bumping into the punch bowl, everyone’s faces warped and twisted- everyone’s but our own. We were crystal clear. We had been dead for so long; then we were electric.
I know that three of us overdosed in a youth hostile a month later. One became an escort and two others were in prison. Another missing. My best friend shot over a kilo of coke. It was red on white. I couldn’t even use it; the alabaster powder vampired whatever dribbled, dribbled, dribbled from the gory gash I heard the coroner describe as: “a punctured thorax.” I ran and ran, red, white, and blue lights flashing over my shoulders. The crunchy gravel under my blistered feet turned into icy, frost-covered, metal. My head turned on instinct; the haunting repeat of a locomotive engine; the steam whistle’s murmuring drone; headlights.