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Archive for the ‘Drugs’ Category

Richard Cox

Add Intensity, Subtract Limpness

November 6th, 2009
by Richard Cox

SAN FRANCISCO, CA-

The other day I was walking down Market Street, enjoying a rare day of calm winds and clear, sunny skies, when a stranger approached me. His hair was brown and coarse, like horsehair, which he clearly hadn’t washed in weeks. Maybe months. He was short and swarthy and wore a thick, bushy moustache and a black trench coat that was too big for him. I tried to walk around him, delete him from my life, but he swerved to intercept me. This is what always happens. You can’t get away from these guys.

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Paul A. Toth

My Siamese Twin

November 6th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

This has been what I call the Year of Ice. Colder than a shaved polar bear. Sayonara 2009. It’s been a year of pills, pills and more pills, until finally I seem to have reached some kind of treaty with bipolar disorder, which barely warrants discussion given that virtually everyone is now diagnosed as bipolar. Still, it’s important to note that when I write “ice,” I mean anxiety, yet when I write “anxiety,” I do not describe all attributes of “ice.” (more…)


Matt Baldwin

Six Chambers

November 4th, 2009
by Matt Baldwin

SAN DIEGO, CA –

On a late spring day in 2001 my sister’s drug-dealing ex-boyfriend crashed the pool party she was throwing at our house in the suburbs and shot two people on our front porch. He used a small, snub-nosed revolver from a distance of less than ten feet, firing off all six rounds. Five of them hit their mark.

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Gina Frangello

Pain is a Country

October 31st, 2009
by Gina Frangello

CHICAGO, IL-

When you enter the country of Pain, they confiscate your passport. You leave behind the things and people that used to feel important and familiar, in which you used to believe. Everyone in the new country is a stranger, though it scarcely matters because pain is really a nation of islands, and everyone who lives there lives alone.

In 1995, while my husband and I were visiting my best friend Tom in Barcelona, I became an unintentional and surprise immigrant in the country of pain. It happened overnight, and at first I did not realize I had “moved.” I believed I had a bladder infection. I’d had them before—many, in fact, even having been hospitalized for one as a child. Sometimes when I got one, I could not close my legs for the burning; I could not stop pacing the room; I urinated blood. But the agony was always temporary. You take your antibiotics, you take your pills that make your pee turn orange, you feel a little crazy for a couple of days and then it is done.

Except this time, it was not.

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Robin Antalek

Ghosts

October 20th, 2009
by Robin Antalek

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY-

My childhood was a combination of magic and terror.

I come from a loud, sprawling clan of first generation Italian Americans who, for the most part, resided within walking distance of each other in the hamlet of Pelham, New York, a suburb of Manhattan.

They loved food, God, their newly adopted country, baseball and their family with fervent yet equal abandon. My earliest memories are of the wrap around porch of my grandparents’ home overflowing with cousins and aunts and uncles eating, drinking and talking all at once, of my older cousins wearing teased bouffant hair styles, and white lipstick, their hemlines inching way above the knee, of my grandfather and his brothers drinking homemade wine and smoking hand rolled cigars beneath the grape arbors in the backyard, of going into Manhattan, my hand held firmly in my grandfather’s, to watch the circus elephants arrive in town linked trunk to tail, of Jones Beach, of Coney Island, of rambling village parades where nearly half of those marching were related to me. Of holidays: of Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter, Halloween and the Fourth of July where the house was always full of people who had known me since I was born.

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Peter Gajdics

What I Wanted To Be When I Grew Up: Me, My Gender and I

October 10th, 2009
by Peter Gajdics

VANCOUVER, BC-

One day in grade six, Teacher asked us all to say aloud what we wanted to be when we grew up. “I’m going to be a doctor,” one boy announced as we all sat cross-legged in a circle. “I’m going to be a teacher!” a ponytailed girl called out with a raised hand. Another boy with red hair and freckles said he wanted to be a fire engine: a big, loud, red, fire engine. Teacher, a kind, grey-haired woman who always wore a blue, pleated skirt and held a piece of new, white chalk, corrected him by saying, “Don’t you mean you want to be a fireman?” “No,” the boy said, shaking his head. “I want to be a fire engine. A big, loud, red, fire engine.” Everyone laughed, but secretly I was scared that Teacher would ask me what I wanted to be. I was scared because I didn’t know what I wanted to be. There was no profession I could imagine myself becoming when I grew up. Would I even grow up? That was like imagining myself outside a forest when all around me it was dark and I was alone and really, if I’d been honest, although I already knew well enough not to be, all I wanted was to be at peace. Not a doctor or a priest or a football player—at peace. (more…)


Steve Sparshott

Last Train

October 9th, 2009
by Steve Sparshott

LONDON, ENGLAND-

There was a figure on the wrong side of the railing. Hunched, legs dangling over the water, left hand on the edge of the brickwork clutching a smoking cigarette. I kept an eye on him as I passed; he raised the fag to his mouth with a sudden movement, inhaled and put it back down just as abruptly. (more…)


Rich Ferguson

Of Road Dogs and Lives Lost and Saved (Part 2 of 2)

October 6th, 2009
by Rich Ferguson

LOS ANGELES -

Picture the scene:

I was twenty-four. My San Francisco band was on tour. The night in question: we’d just finished playing the 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis, opening for The Celibate Rifles. The show had gone extremely well. Me, manning drums. Dave on guitar, Jim on bass. A great big rush and blur of wailing voices, whiskey and heartache-strung guitars, adrenaline drumsticks. Think thrashy folk music: the bastard lovechild of REM and the Violent Femmes after a long night of ecstasy and crank snorting.

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John L. Singleton

Chicken Wing Floozie

October 5th, 2009
by John L. Singleton

LOS ANGELES, CA—

I left home when I was in high school without a diploma and shacked up with a floozie. I call her a floozie not just because my mother called her that, but because she was a floozie. She was a floozie to end all floozies. If being a floozie was anything like being in the Army she’d have been a general. And instead of painting skulls on her helmet to represent vanquished opponents, she’d have painted dicks, to represent vanquished dicks. And to accommodate all the dicks she’d need something like a million helmets and a whole convoy just to transport them.

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Tom Hansen

On Junk

October 3rd, 2009
by Tom Hansen

SEATTLE WA-

When I began taking writing courses in college, my instructors at some point all mentioned one thing; write what you know.

What does that mean? What does anyone know? What did I know? I was familiar with, and informed about many things, but ‘knowing’ implied a more intimate relationship than the commonplace knowledge that everyone knows. I knew a little bit about playing music, a bit about this, a bit about that. Nothing special, not like the adventures some of my literary heroes had lived through and subsequently wrote about. But there was one thing. One thing I knew more than anything else, one thing in my life that I’d been totally enthralled with, devoted to, and spent years and years of my life closely involved with. Junk.

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Irene Zion

TNB’s Literary Experience in Chicago, and How People Don’t Look Like You Thought They Would

September 29th, 2009
by Irene Zion

MIAMI BEACH, FL-

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 we had WAY more fun than you did, unless you were at the Whistler Bar at 2421 N. Milwaukee Ave in Chicago. TNB was hosted by The Orange Alert Reading Series, which allowed us to use their favorite awesome bar. The people who run the place make some atypical, kick-ass drinks. There was a lot of drinking.  That kind of thing happens in a bar.

The place was packed with people. There were easily four thousand people there, and it is not that big a place.  Probably Gina counted the people in the audience, so she might know the exact number, but seriously, who would keep counting after three thousand?  We had an accomplished videographer filming the whole thing. He is a Chicago native named Mike Weldon. He’s really hot, but I don’t know if he’s tied up with a significant other, or else I’d tell you.  He is also a filmmaker.  This is his website: http://www.youtube.com/MichaelJWeldon Mike shoots films, beheadings, weddings, live events, Irish funerals, just use your imagination!

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Peter Gajdics

Running After the Hands

September 28th, 2009
by Peter Gajdics

VANCOUVER, BC-

Flipping through a recent issue of the local gay newspaper, I noticed two advertisements on facing pages. On the left was an ad for the local gay bathhouse with a picture of three young, hairless (at least clipped), muscled, and implicitly virile men tangled like weeds in each other’s sweaty but greedy arms; on the opposite page was a picture of another (young) man—blue-eyed, with three-day stubble, in a flaming red shirt—advertising the latest AIDS medication. The message, whether the marketers were aware of it or not, was powerful: have fun, and if (when) you get sick, buy our medication. Sex sells, even with illness looming offstage. (more…)


John L. Singleton

At a Waffle House on the Edge of Florida

September 23rd, 2009
by John L. Singleton

LOS ANGELES, CA—

After we passed through the hinterlands of Florida, we stopped at a Waffle House, maybe ten miles before the border. As a kid, my mom had worked at the Waffle House, and sometimes I’d come to work with her and sit at the counter all day, eating hash browns and talking to the customers.

It was a skeezy joint but I loved it there. There was something about the endless parade of anonymous faces that floated in and out of there that made me feel at home. Every day there were different people, a few regulars, but mostly truckers and other travelers that stopped in off the highway on their way to somewhere that wasn’t here.

Celeste ordered the steak and eggs and I had a Coke and a double order of hash browns. While we waited for our food we sat in silence, listening to other people’s conversations. We were too tired to make conversation for ourselves and we’d already been talking for too long. Talking about god knows what. Mostly how we hated Florida and wanted to leave.

“I don’t know why the hell people wanna come retire here. It’s worse than already being dead,” she said.
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John L. Singleton

Things I Learned About the Apocalypse Over Labor Day While Vacationing In Palm Springs, California

September 15th, 2009
by John L. Singleton

LOS ANGELES, CA–

So, I’ve been working pretty hard lately. And by working hard, I mean that I’ve been working really hard, for long hours (12 or so of them every single day) for about the last two years. As a reader of this little article, you might wonder what I’ve been working at for all of these hours, but that’s not important. What is important is that at this point, the only thing that really punctuates my working of really long hours is the drinking of highball glasses of Jim Beam, which helps me work more but alas (according to all of the addiction recovery books I seem to be reading lately) doesn’t really relax me. At least not in the way a good vacation would. A good, sober vacation. And what better place to get away from it all (or at least the burning, wood-fired Tandoori oven that is LA right now) than Palm Springs, California, just two hours away!

At first this seems like a great idea, right? A relaxing desert, a pool, room service… All awesome things. However…

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Joi Brozek

A Thousand Words: Girl in a Bottle

September 9th, 2009
by Joi Brozek

LAWRENCE, KS-

It was after you slurred those filthy songs with a sweet voice, eyes rolling up to the colored gels covering the lights, thinking, “FUCK! They can make me beautiful,” that I decided I couldn’t look at you anymore,

The first time I met Tricky, she told me to pour her a double, baby, and so I did. On a good day she drank Stoli and soda, heavy on the Stoli, light on the soda, in a glass. On a not so good day she did away with the glass and drank straight out of the bottle. I had never seen thirst like hers. (more…)


D.R. Haney

3301 Waverly Drive

August 13th, 2009
by D.R. Haney

LOS ANGELES—

Jerry and Mary Neeley used to own the best video store on the east side of L.A. That’s where I met them, and since they closed shop two years ago to sell movie collectibles online, we’ve occasionally met for coffee and talk of, among other topics, true crime. We’ve also kept in touch by e-mail, and last week Mary sent the following message:

As you know, the 40th anniversary of Tate/LaBianca is this August 8th & 9th. (Technically, the 9th & 10th because both parties were killed after midnight.)

I wanted to go to the LaBianca house around 1am on the 10th to see if anyone else shows up. Would you be interested? I don’t want to walk up there alone at 1am.
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Elizabeth Collins

Life Lessons at the Literary Agency

August 13th, 2009
by Elizabeth Collins

PHILADELPHIA, PA–

Fresh out of college in 1993, I landed a job with a literary agent. Don’t ask me how.

The job, however plummy it seemed, was actually insane. Every day was a lesson in Real Life.

The first thing I learned was: Don’t let the bike messengers use the bathroom.  They’re usually shooting up in there. 

I got screamed at, reamed out, when I let the messenger use the bathroom. 

“Don’t you know what they do in bathrooms!?” My new co-worker was horrified.

I could imagine it, yes, because it is hot in NYC in summer, and bike messengers must drink a lot of water.

“Heroin!” she shouted. “Smack! They’re junkies!”

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David S. Wills

The Worst of Weeks: Fleeced Like a Rube, Pt. 2

August 8th, 2009
by David S. Wills

DAEGU, KOREA -

Rodney Munch is the sort of guy you’d normally consider pretty damn lucky, but lucky folks fall, too, and they fall harder than the rest of us.

I once saw Rod being dealt a Royal Flush, only a week after his first game of poker. Another time, I saw him decline to choose heads or tails in a coin toss, only to have the coin land on its side.

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Simon Smithson

Sweet Liberty!

July 25th, 2009
by Simon Smithson

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-

I will forever be indebted to my friend Luke for many things. Among them, his habit of using the exclamation ‘Sweet Liberty!’ where other people would happily drop the F-bomb. What started out as irony on his part has become, to me, one of the most endearing traits of his conversational character. I also owe him a debt for introducing me to the concept of the third option. Luke, a man of cunning and repose, taught me about this years ago. When stuck in a bind, he said, when both going forward or moving back look equally unattractive, look for the third option. It’s always there, just not immediately recognisable. (more…)


Greg Olear

Just a Cigar

July 21st, 2009
by Greg Olear

NEW PALTZ, N.Y.-

There are certain hobbies that, while possessed of an inherent appeal, I would never take up because the subculture attached to them so repels me.

Take golf. I enjoy whacking the little white ball—I’m pretty good on the driving range, truth be told—but I would never go so far as to play the game for the simple reason that I don’t want to spend a whole afternoon with golfers.

Marijuana is another example. Pleasant though the high may be, no amount of stonedness could hip me to hackeysack and Grateful Dead bootlegs.

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