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Marty depressed the plunger and turned his world yellow. At first there was a tightening in his neck beneath his skull that went on to warm his brain. It traveled through the rest of his body at astounding speed making every part of it warm and serene. Once it established itself he could feel it pulsing from his heart in waves of satisfaction and he pictured himself as bright green leaves on a giant tree with innumerable branches. The drug allowed him to relish in every beat of his heart.
Marty’s room was dismal. He glanced at the dingy gossamer sheets stapled over his single window and day-dreamed they were gone, and sunlight streamed through the room dissolving dust where it flowed. Marty dreamed up a little dove that flew in through the window, singing,
“There is no thinking, no thinking, no thinking….“
Marty’s muscles melted like wax. His eyes started rolling back revealing the fog that engulfed his cerebral cortex. It was a hundred million neurons at once tricked into feeling good—for once feeling good.
Marty couldn’t stand spending any significant amount of time in his body. It was a torturous proposal. Waking up was a torturous proposal because Marty was raised on reason and in everything he had begun to see a total lack of reason. At first he could think his way around it. Marty was always very smart and could rationalize himself out of almost anything, and when he did this he saw himself as a soldier taking a hit to drag one of his fellows away from battle, sacrificing something to salvage something. He started thinking of it as damage control- but it swelled, swelled like the tide.
Now Marty was the dingy spoon and he was the fire and he was the sizzling powder and the bubbles, the latex strip, and the wash of blood. He reached down and rubbed his throbbing foot, and looked over then to see the bird melting into the atmosphere…
“…no thinking, no thinking, no thinking, no thinking, no thinking…”
... past where his left arm was severed across the bicep.
Tears started to well up in Marty’s eyes. The digital clock blinked 12:00.
“Better get this over soon” he thought.
He held the new needle up to the imagined light streaming in the window and started to weep quietly at the imagined mist forming rainbows in front of him as he cleared the syringe of air bubbles. Then he tapped into a vein of sadness and loss that had exploded, running like a river washing over everything and turning it grey. Marty turned it the brightest yellow. Yellow, yellow, yellow, and black.
Marty’s mother threw her keys on the kitchen table and let her humongous purse loose from her aching shoulder. She carefully pulled off her heels with her feet and waited, with her hands pressed on the counter, for the blood to flow back into her toes. Upstairs she could hear Conjure One, muffled, but still intelligible, blaring on Marty’s stereo. She knew it was Conjure One because Marty had told her it was Conjure One, that the one song he listened to over and over again was profoundly meaningful to him though he couldn’t say why. Marty’s mother smiled, remembering the car trip where they talked about music, where they were drinking ICEEs and being friends. She remembered how he smiled and laughed and she knew he was going to be alright. No one couldn’t love him.
And when I close my eyes,
I am at the center of the sun
And I cannot be hurt
This wicked world has done
She heard the lyric from upstairs at the same moment she saw it carefully penned on an envelope propped up against smiling porcelain salt and pepper shakers on the counter. She opened the envelope and inside was an immaculate hand-written letter—blue ink on lined stationery, her stationery. It had been creased over the corner of a desk or a table. She opened it carefully, and then dropped it to the floor.