22 February 2013

Friday, January 5, 1996 3:46 a.m.

I don’t know what to say.

These assholes didn’t even try to take me to the hospital. Not that it would have mattered. I mean, it’s pretty clear that I’m dead. Hell, it’s been about four and a half hours, and I haven’t taken a breath, so it’s a safe bet that I’m dead. My body over there hasn’t breathed. Whatever is left of me here, on this side of the room, doesn’t seem to breathe either. If I have lungs, I can’t see them. Or the chest that contains them. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be anything visible in the general area from which I appear to be observing the scene, aside from the thick coke-smoke hanging in the air.

Still, you’d think they would try to do something. Well, something useful anyway. Billy Joel (not THE Billy Joel, it's BJ's actual name) does make a half-ass attempt to resuscitate me. At least that’s what it looks like he is trying to do. Actually, it looks like he’s slipping me a sloppy, purple man-tongue and massaging my tits, and let me tell you, that’s no way to jump-start a pulse. Anyway, after about two minutes, his black and atrophied lungs run out of breath and, were I still in there somewhere and could taste, I know that his sour, dry, cracked-out mouth would have forced me to vomit myself back to life. But, now it’s too late for that. I no longer inhabit that sack of meat and bones in the floor. I will never vomit again.

So, OK. They finally come to terms with the fact that I’m dead, and Billy Joel's girlfriend, Sister, who's no uptown girl but may actually be his sister,  becomes hysterical for a few minutes. She sobs, screams, stumbles around with a palm over her gaping mouth. It’s a pretty good show. Convincing. I appreciate the effort. But, if she really cares, she’ll grab the keys out of the front pocket of my jeans, drag me by the feet to my car, and drive me to the hospital.

They don’t have to stick around or anything. They could just dump me at the ER door. Lord knows it wouldn’t be the first time. It would, however, be the first time I was dead when it happened. I’ve come close a few times, but I’ve always been lucky. Once, Fonda (the woman I love, her hippie parents wanted to name her after Jane Fonda, but the "Jane" part was just too plain) was scared shitless when I wouldn’t wake up after a long night of drinking and snorting Ketamine. So, she called a cab, lugged me down three flights of stairs and into it (bourbon gives that woman some upper body strength, let me tell you), gave the driver a 50-dollar bill, and told him to deposit me at the ER, “Keep the change.” This is what she tells me happened anyway. Used to tell me. She was pretty fucked up herself, that night, though. I don't remember anything like that happening. Besides, I don’t know any cab driver who’d do that and I know cab drivers who will do anything. Believe me.

BJ and Sister don’t even call me a cab. After BJ slaps some quiet reserve into his girlfriend and she retaliates by punching him hard in the nuts (good for her), what do they do? BJ hauls me over into a corner of the big empty room, leans me against the wall, and lights the pipe again.

Are you fucking kidding me?

Even if they don’t give a shit about me, wouldn’t it at least enter their minds that maybe the rock is bad? Maybe it could kill them, too? Maybe, just maybe, this would be a good time to quit?

For them, this is not even a remote concern. So, I’m dead, and I am stuck watching these assholes get tweaked out of their minds with my corpse rotting in the corner of a house I’ve never even seen before tonight. If they start doing it...

Wait. Am I stuck? I mean, I didn’t see any radiating white light to walk into. No angels descending on fluffy white clouds to lead me away. I didn’t see my dad, my grandparents, or Kurt Cobain waving at the end of a long tunnel.

I just assumed that this was going to be one of those situations where something traumatic happens and the spirit, my spirit, is stuck haunting the place for the rest of eternity. What a depressing place to haunt. I've gotta find some curtains if I'm going to stay here. At the rate they’re going, BJ and Sister aren’t long for this life either and will be joining me in this haunted crack-house. If they die here and I am stuck with them for the rest of eternity after what they did (or didn't do), I am going to be so pissed.

The thought of that possibility pushes me over the edge. I storm across the room. Float? Fly? I dunno. I somehow end up in front of the main door of my own volition, and, anxiously, try the deadbolt. It turns, clicking loudly. Yes.

I turn the knob and the wild winter air pushes the door wide open. The heavy door strikes the inside wall of the living room with a THUD that causes both Billy Joel and Sister to jump up from the floor where they have just begun talking animatedly about the best way to dispose of a body. The whistling air and dead night sky are even more ominous than the door flying open, and, for just a moment, I think I’d like to see BJ shit his pants in fright. But the revenge compulsion fades just as quickly as it came. Guess I’m not really a vengeful ghost. I walk across the threshold and look over my shoulder back into the house. They’re both backing up against the far, bare wall. This time, Sister isn’t the one going into hysterics; BJ is crying, wide-eyed, and looking directly at me. Through me. At the empty, open doorway.

There’s something I have to do before I can go. I don’t mean something I have to do like in a scary movie where the ghost still has some action left to perform before he can pass into the other world. Lead someone to where my bones have been buried in a shallow grave in the woods. Get someone to destroy the house in which I am trapped. I’m not talking about metaphysical red tape here. There’s just something I want to do.

I float back in and over to myself in the corner. Since I was able to open the door, it's worth a try… I turn myself over and dig in my pocket for the keys. Sister mistakenly gasps, “He’s alive!” as I pull them from my pocket. “The keys!” I can only imagine what this looks like to these two cracked-out bitches, keys jumping out of my pocket and making their way out the door, seemingly of their own accord.

Wait. One more thing. I glide (I dunno, it doesn’t feel like there’s ground under my feet) over to my stiffening corpse, grab my right hand and force my fingers into a fist. It’s a little tough to do so. There’s resistance, popping sounds. Maybe I’ve broken them. Doesn’t matter. I don’t feel it. They aren’t my fingers anymore. Not my fingers, but my sentiment. I make sure BJ and Sister are watching as I slowly uncurl the middle finger from the fist, holding it upright.

Fuck you, assholes! I know they can’t hear me, having now spent the majority of the night dead and screaming at them. Still, I have to do it. Last ride I give you losers.

I slam the door behind me on the porch and, in an instant, have the door to my rusted, red '88 Sentra unlocked. I pile in, slide the key into the ignition, and turn.

The old trap coughs a bit, but starts. I sure as hell thought this car would die before I would.

Thank. Fucking. God.

Yeah, and by the way, just where the hell are You in all this, God? Never forgave me for killing all those bag-worms with my bike as a kid, huh? Well, at least I’m not stuck in this You-forsaken place, so I guess You don’t hate me that much. Or maybe I’m just lucky.

I always was lucky.

Out of habit, I turn the heater on and wait for the car to warm up, even though temperature is something I no longer notice. I adjust the rear-view mirror because, as it turns out, the ghost me is shorter than the living me. Who knew?

I can see out the rear window now, but I’m no longer a part of the reflective image that affords that view. I've disappeared. And yet I'm still here.

Damn, I'm chatty.

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