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Magdalene

WARNING: Extreme graphic violence. I wanted to write a short story that pushed my writing into taboo areas and pushed the reader in the same way. This story involves torture and rape. Read at your own discretion.

 


He called me Magdalene. It wasn’t my real name, I didn’t hear my real name for years. He proclaimed I was his gift from God. He told me to call him Father many years ago, but my own name for him was The Menstealer. I had been his property since I was 16 years old, kidnapped and placed in a room guarded by a lock on the door.  

I remember the first day in the room so vividly – I was screaming, clawing at the walls to get away from The Menstealer as he approached me quoting words from The Bible. “But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female,” The Menstealer bellowed, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” His eyes bulged and mouth was agape from his last recited word. His hands reached down to his waistline and he started undoing his pants. I started screaming louder, tears streaming down my face. Blood dripped down my arm from a couple fingernails that ripped off while I was scrambling at the walls. He grabbed me by the hair and slammed my head against the concrete.

He raped me nearly every day since then and I hadn’t fought against it for a long time. Whenever I heard him unlocking the door I would climb up on the mattress and lay on my back, opening my legs for him. It made it easier.  

The room had concrete walls, ceiling and floor. When I had first arrived it smelled damp like wet rocks in a riverbed. It took no time before I didn’t notice the scent anymore. A single bare mattress lay in a corner opposite from the door. No blanket or mattress cover was ever provided to me for comfort. The only other amenities in the room were a bucket used for defecating, a roll of tissue paper, and whatever novel he would provide me to pass the time (One that he deemed worthy to God). All my food was served with plastic plates and cutlery and he made sure he got them back after each meal. Clothes were given and rotated to me every couple days, along with another bucket of clean water and a sponge to wash myself.

Once I tried to attack The Menstealer. I held the bucket high over my head when I heard the door unlocking, positioning myself against the wall. I whacked him hard over the head when the door opened. He stumbled forward and I quickly slipped between him and the open door. The Menstealer was swift when he spun around and caught me by the forearm, and with immense strength he flung me to the floor. My head cracked on the ground, briefly causing me to drift out of consciousness. When I had come around my sight was blurry. I saw his figure stand before me. Suddenly there was a sharp pain in my leg. I could hear him screaming maniacally as he lifted his leg and smashed in down on mine over and over, multiple cracks pierced the air. My right leg laid there in an unnaturally shaped L. He had broken it badly, the tibia bone threatened to protrude through the skin. The LORD has disciplined me severely, But He has not given me over to death The Menstealer said to me when he saw me pathetically laying there. He loomed over my broken body, and when he climbed on top of me the pain was so intense that I wailed out and went limp.

My leg never healed properly since. A burden gifted to me.

I laid on the mattress years later with my gimpy leg, reading a novel The Menstealer deemed appropriate. I had been ill for a few days, vomiting so much that he gave me a seperate bucket. Even without any way to know the time, I knew he was late. The Menstealer loved routine, and over the years my internal clock had adjusted to his sick schedules. But he was late. Very very late. I hoped he had died in some terrible accident, but then pushed the thought aside, If he died then I would too. I would be confined to this cell until my mass had withered away.

I heard rustling behind the door. I put down my book, pulled down my pants and lay on the mattress. The locks unclicked and he opened the door slowly. He stood in the door with tears welling in his eyes. The bucket I used to wash myself with was dangling in his hand by the handle. Except it wasn’t the day to be washed, and he had never broken that routine before.

His tears dropped and his lips were curled into a small smile. He was so soft when he finally spoke, “And so that you may live long in the land the LORD swore to your ancestors to give to them and their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey.” He approached and knelt beside me, another instance that broke routine. He reached out and stroked my cheek, “Beautiful Magdalene,” he passionately whispered, “God has blessed our union.” He set the washing bucket down on the floor and cupped my face in his hands – almost an affectionate gesture if not for the circumstances. It was then I noticed he left the door open, but with him so close I wouldn’t dare make a run for it. He usually locked it behind him when he entered.

He removed the hands from my face and reached into his pocket and provided a small white tube that I couldn’t instantly recognise. He placed it in my hand. It was a pregnancy test. He choked back on his tears when he said, “Magdalene, you are with child.”

A shock ran up from my stomach, a sobering surge that vibrated in my bones. I was kidnapped at a young age, but not young enough to not have had a sexual education. Over the years I assumed he or I was infertile.

“You are pregnant!” The Menstealer loudly pronounced, jumping me out of my horrified thoughts. He lifted his head towards the ceiling, “God blesses us! Thank you LORD!” His hands raised up in a spiritual gesture and I thought about making a run for it. With my disfigured leg I wouldn’t’ve been able to get away fast enough.

“What say you, Magdalene?” He turned his attention back to me. I still clutched the pregnancy test, unable to bring myself to look at it a second time. I knew he wasn’t lying. He wouldn’t lie about something he deemed so important.

I knew now that he was using my bucket full of piss and shit to test my fertility. The thought of him dipping the pregnancy test into my defecation bucket caused me to drop the test. He looked at me sharply and got closer to my face. “The confirmation of God has blessed us. What say you?”

I hardly ever spoke to The Menstealer and when I did it was with my head down in soft words that would please him. This was not that time. I looked him straight in the eyes and hissed, “I’m not going to have your fucking baby.”  

His face burned red and his eyes bulged as his drew back his hand and slapped me. He climbed on top of me and slapped me again. I tried to push him off, but that caused his open hands to become fists and he punched me in the face again and again. I cried out and covered my face with my hand, which he caught and with a loud crack he bent it unnaturally, snapping my wrist. I wailed out and his bulging eyes seemed to recede back into their natural place. His face went soft but still burned red.

“Beautiful Magdalene,” He said, using a soft tone. “We have been blessed. You must be so overbeared with the emotions of God and swayed but the whisperings of the devil.” He got up off me and motioned towards the bucket. “Take your time and be overjoyed. God is inside of you now. Inside both of us.” He left the room, locking the door behind him.

I laid crying on the mattress, my broken wrist resting below my breasts. I wanted to curl into the fetal position but the pain was too much, so I lay on my back until bile built in my throat and I shot up and spewed vomit onto the concrete floor. It was then the pain was refocused from my wrist to my face. With my unbroken hand I gently touched my face, outlining with my finger the swollen bits. My right cheek was puffed, as well as my lip. My left eye had been slowing closing until the swelling confined it to a puffy slit.

I fucking hated the Menstealer – a fucking devil. Satanic were his grotesque eyes that would push out of his head unnaturally. Demonic the seed inside me he planted, forming the antichrist within the walls of my very womb. I will not have this baby I told myself. I cannot. It is unnatural, it is a leviathan in a sea of beautiful things. I will strangle it as soon as it’s entered the world. I will raise my bucket high above my head and bring it down onto the babe until it’s crushed on the floor. I thought about how The Menstealer would be there by my side as I gave birth. He would probably snatch it away from me before my hands could reach its neck and then he would probably dispose of me or rape me till I beared more of his offspring.

I wouldn’t not allow it.

I grew larger as months past. The Menstealer would come visit me more often than usual, providing me with healthier foods and daily wash buckets. Before my wrist healed he would wash my naked body with the sponge daily. My wrist healed as disfigured as my leg, and just like my leg I could still use my wrist but sometimes pain would shoot up my forearm and I wasn’t able to hold onto things like I used to.

One night I lay on my bed, my small belly protruding skywards like a hilltop. Something inside the mattress jabbed at my side so I sat up and felt it with my hand. It seemed as if my unfailing mattress of many years was slowly deteriorating. A metal spring inside the mattress had apparently come loose. Maybe if I asked nicely The Menstealer will buy me a new king sized tempurpedic I laughed, He’ll probably just flip the mattress over. For some reason this thought made me laugh harder.

I lay back down on my side facing the broken spring. I ran my finger over it and felt it through the mattress. Absentmindedly I picked at it, the threads slowly unravelling until the spring had fully poked through. It was rusty, but feeling the tip it was also quite sharp. I shot up with an idea. I began picking more of the mattress away until, after a few minutes, I was able to see further down the protruding spring and its many coils. The coil was sturdy, but after bending it around and twisting it with my good hand I was able to snap it off. I held the coil in my hand and inspected it, deciding it would be best to try and straighten it out.

I was bending it and twisting it when I heard the door unlocking. I lept to my feet – which pained my bunged leg – and panic shot through me. The lock clicked as I rushed to put the coil under the mattress. I then remembered the hole in the mattress and dove on top of it. A piece of the metal had stuck straight out from where I had snapped the coil off and it impaled silently and easily into my side. I winced in pain but remained over it as it was too late to reposition myself. The door was open and The Menstealer stood in the frame.

I was laying in an unnatural position on my side, looking like a model in some awkward photo shoot. In a normal situation- and if not for the piece of metal that was painfully in my side- it would’ve been funny.

The Menstealer gave me a weird look when he got closer to me. “Are you alright?” He questioned.

“Yes I am. It’s just comfortable like this on my side. More comfortable for my belly.” I lied.

“Are you in any pain?” He looked concerned and knelt beside me.

“No,” I stated, almost too quickly, “I am fine. Just resting.”

“Here, I will help you up. Lean against the wall.” He motioned to grab me under my arms.

“No!” I snapped.  

He was taken aback, his eyes beginning to bulge, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.” He aggressively grabbed my arms and lifted me, the metal in my side tearing violently down before exiting. I felt my side getting wet with blood.

He threw my back against the wall, then his eyes got soft, “And the wife must respect her husband.”

“I’m sorry, Father.” I humored him, “Please forgive me.” I had my arm against my side where the metal had stuck in, hiding the blood. I quickly glanced down between my legs (I was now sitting on top of the hole in the mattress but managed to not get impaled by the broken coil a second time). Something else had caught my eye. There was a little blood stain on the mattress, right between my legs high up near my crotch. I had glanced quickly, but The Menstealer had noticed and quickly followed my gaze.

He leaned back in horror, “Magdalene! You are bleeding!” He reached his hand out between my crotch and felt the blood, an odd gesture, “Magdalene! You are not well! The child! Oh God the child!” Then – with great surprise to me – he slapped me across the face.

“You’ve been courting with the devil to bring harm to this child, haven’t you?” He slapped me again, “You mean to bring disruption to our union!”

“No,” I pleaded, “I didn’t know I was bleeding.”

“You were trying to hide this from me! You know you rot from the inside.”

“ I did not! I swear!” I cried out as he slapped me again.

“I will fix this!” He screamed, his voice reaching unhuman levels. He was unhinged and I expected to be beaten, but he rose to his feet, “I will be back, and when I do you will truly feel the wrath of GOD.”

He quickly left the room, locking the door behind him. I didn’t know how long I had before he came back, but I knew I had to act fast. All I knew was that he would probably beat me within an inch of my life, but I also knew the child still lived inside me.

I moved quickly, pulling the piece of wire out from under the mattress. It was misshapened but as straight as I could make it, one end formed a small hook. I took off the ugly pregnancy pants The Menstealer so graciously gave me a few weeks previous and lay on my back. I inserted the hooked end of the straightened coil into my vagina. The wire was uncomfortable as I inserted it further and was met with some resistance. The misshapen features of the coil meant I had to move it around a bit to insert it further.

I must admit I had no idea what I was doing. A joke stuck with me over the years I once heard in school: Coat hangers, they really bring out the kid in you. I could feel fluid dripping down my labia. I was unable to push the wire in any further. I moved the wire around and it caught. I pulled the mattress wire out slowly, trying to supress my wails. I noticed a lot of blood on my hand and a small piece of flesh hung from the end of the hook. I brought it close to my face and knew that it wasn’t the fetus. I picked the chunk of my insides off the hook and I reinserted it.

Through my stress and anger and pain and sadness I could no longer compose myself so I screamed out. I moved the coil around until it was met with resistance, this time hoping I had caught the fetus and not the lining of my insides.

I heard the door unlocking; The Menstealer was back. With one hand motion I pulled the wire back out, met with pressure, pain, and a feeling of expansion. The Menstealer was in the doorway, face frozen with shock and horror as the wire fully came out of my body. Something the size of my palm moved slightly on the end of the wire and I threw up, rolling to my side and dropping the wire.

The Menstealer, screaming and not bothering to close the door, ran forward and dropped to his knees in front of the abortion. The fetus had stopped moving. The Menstealer pulled the hook out its lifeless body and threw the wire aside, landing to my left. He picked the fetus up in his hand, trembling, and shrieked, “What have you done?”

I didn’t hesitate nor did I answer, I picked up the coil and inserted it into his neck. He dropped the fetus and turned to me, the coil protruding from his neck. I went for the open door.

He grabbed me by the leg and I fell forward. My face ricocheted off the concrete, knocking the wind out of me and at least a tooth. I twisted onto my back and The Menstealer ripped the coil out of his neck, a trickle of blood coming out with it. I kicked him in the face with my bad leg, causing a sharp pain to run up my shin. The Menstealer fell backwards as I sat up. I  was almost on my feet when I was slammed back to the ground, The Menstealer tackling me onto my back. Both his hands were wrapped around my neck and his eyes looked like marbles about to fall out of their sockets, his mouth hung unnaturally wide open with an odd slant. Maybe I broke his jaw.

His hands squeezed my neck with a strength and fury that could only mean he was going to kill me. I gasped for air, clawing at his arms. He face was inches away from mine, drool dripping out of his open jaw onto my face. In the moment he looked like a sadistic animal.

My hands moved to his face as he bore down on me harder. I clawed at his face and he moved his head back trying to avoid it. My bad arm fell to my side and I felt something metallic on the floor. My arm twisted and turned, desperate to pick it up. I felt that it was The Menstealers keys – they must of fell out of his pocket when he tackled me. I got a good grip around them and brought them up to his neck, stabbing him. His body curled down when the keys punctured the skin, I removed it and with a frantic movement stabbed them into his eye. A jelly liquid mixed with blood bursted out of his eye and onto my face. He lurched back screaming and I kept the keys tightly in my hand. He landed on his ass on top of the abortion, sliding slightly from the slickness when it was broken apart beneath him.

I scrambled to my feet, The Menstealer held a hand over his eye as I loomed over him. I thought about kicking him but realised how absurd that was, an open door was at my back; freedom was so close. I turned and limped to the door, blood dripping down from my vulva in red lines.

I went past the open door and slammed it shut. I fumbled with the keys. I already knew what lay outside the room from my attempt to escape long ago. During that time, when I managed to slip past The Menstealer before he caught my arm, I had seen that I was in an unfinished basement. The basement looked the same now as I remembered it had back then. I tried two of the keys on the lock but they didn’t work. On the third key, I pushed it in and with a satisfying click I turned it to the locked position, hearing the deadbolt slide inside of its corresponding tunnel.

The Menstealer was screaming in blood curdling cries, “Sarah! Sarah! Sarah!”  

End.

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A Cunt Named Troy: How I Didn’t Have A Low Self Esteem That One Time

People who know me know that I have the self-esteem of a wet mop. A bipolar wet mop. A bipolar wet mop with the fashion sense of a schizophrenic lamp. On rare occasions I am empowered and strut the streets like a sexy goddess, but most of the time I feel like I could be described with words such as frog, praying mantis, potato, and greasy McDonald’s takeaway bag. I reflect all of my life’s negativities inwards and it makes me very vile to myself. It’s something I am working on, but that’s not the story I wanted to tell. This is a story about a time I felt like a frog but came out strutting like a goddess.

Oh yeah, and fuck you Troy.

If you’ve never read any of my other blog posts or don’t know me, I’ll give you a quick recap that will give you mega wtf whiplash. Ready? Ok – I used to be a meth-addicted prostitute living in Sydney, Australia. Cool – now go see a physiotherapist for your neck and lets move on.

One of the managers of the brothel was named Troy. I wanted to give him an ugly fake name because he’s pretty good looking and well liked but I was too lazy. So yes, Troy is his real name. He’s totally bald, so at least he’s a failure at something.

Troy seemed to have this weird thing against me. I thought he was a pretty cool guy and I tried to get to know him like I did the other managers, but he seemed to have this chip on his shoulder towards me and some of the other boys. The last time I ever talked to him he really fucked me over so my overall dislike for him doesn’t actually come from this story.

There was about six of us boys in the brothel that night. A few of the boys were very good-looking and fairly popular with clients. I could hold my own against them – I was also popular with the clients – so they weren’t competition for me. It was a quiet shift, not a single client had come by. We were lounging about the Boy’s Room watching tv and playing games on our phones, periodically making small talk amongst ourselves.

When the client bell announced the arrival of an unknown person we all sat up. Someone moaned, “FINALLY!” We could hear the muffled sound in the hallway of Troy opening the front door to let the client inside and the quiet shuffle to the office, where the client would be asked what he was looking for.

There was two ways the client would choose the boy he wanted: The first was that the client would look through photos of us in the office and select boys to interview based on the photos and bio alone. The second was that the client would request to see all of us for an interview. The interviews would be done one by one until the client had seen all of the boys he wanted to see and then he would decide which boy he would spend time with.

Troy opened the door to the Boy’s Room and announced that the client wanted to see everyone for an interview. But then he turned to me and said, “Except you, Cody. There’s no point in going in there, he won’t choose you.”

I was a bit baffled because no one had ever been asked to hang back when a client asked to see all the boys for an interview.

The first boy that went in – a muscular Irish guy – came back and said to Troy, who was standing at the door of the Boy’s Room, “Holy shit! The client is so hot!”

Troy gave him a smirk and said, “I know.”

One by one the boy’s went in for their interview with the client, and one by one they all came back and exclaimed about how hot he was. I felt dejected and disappointed – it was obvious that Troy thought I wasn’t good looking enough for the client. I was also very embarrassed because it was apparent to everyone else as well. In a normal case the manager should’ve just let everyone go in to the interview, regardless if the manager thought the boy would be chosen or not. It was the polite way. Troy purposfully chose to make me look like a fool, and to this day I still have no idea why. Maybe he was mad because I had a full set of luscious hair.

The boy’s all finished their interviews and were giggling like girls about how exciting it would be if they got chosen. Troy left the Boy’s Room and went back to the office to see who the client would pick.

I sat alone in the back corner.

Troy was taking longer than usual to come back to tell us who was chosen. The boy’s started joking that Troy was snogging the client himself and they started laughing hysterically. I thought about going out to the yard to have a cigarette when Troy finally came back into the room.

Troy said, “Cody, can you go see the client in the office.”

“I thought there was no point.” I stated.

“Well he didn’t want any of the other boys. I told him that you’re probably not his type but he still wants to see you. Go, quickly.”

I got up and moved towards the office, resisting the urge to glare at Troy as I walked past him out of the Boy’s Room.

Opening the door to the office was like being hit with a nuclear bomb. The being that sat on the couch could not be human. He was muscular like a bodybuilder, had a jawline like an icepick, had a voice like melted caramel, and was over six feet tall – everything that would make a basic bitch swoon. He was hot as fuck. I sat next to him and told him my info and we had a quick conversation. He rested his hand on my thigh at one point and I blacked out for a few seconds. When I came to I said something corny like “Maybe I’ll see you later” before I went back into the Boy’s Room.

Troy proceeded back into the office once again. He wasn’t even gone for more than 30 seconds before he came back, red with embarrassment and envy, and announced, “Cody, I don’t know why, but he wants you.”

Confetti fell from the ceiling. A chorus of angels materialised and a red carpet unrolled away from me towards the door of the boy’s room. People stood up and applauded. Troy took his real form and reanimated as a snake. I signed a cheque of a million dollars and I cut a red ribbon with a pair of scissors as big as a pair of scissors that are really big.

I strutted so hard past the other boys that when my feet fell they cracked the floor. I basically hair flipped as I past Troy, smirking as I said, “I guess you should’ve let me go in the first place.”

Exiting the Boy’s Room I was flashed with the bulbs of a million paparazzi cameras. I opened the door to the office, and with the dramatic swing of the door I entered with a wink and said, “You called?”

 

 

 

 

 

Pigeons

The old lady came to the park every day to feed the pigeons. She would bring whatever leftover bread she had in her possession, she’d sit on the same bench, and she would slowly reach into the bread bag and toss small crumbs onto the ground. She’d move through the tossing motions methodically while facing the morning sun, the rays of sunlight illuminating her weathered face. The whirlwind of pigeons that surround her swirled and ran and flew as if they were one organism. She was a conductor under the spotlight leading her own orchestra.

Park services were unhappy. There were signs in the park that specifically said Do Not Feed The Birds. They warned her many times before that her actions were frowned upon. They complained to her that – by feeding the pigeons – it made their work harder as they had to spend extra time scrubbing pigeon shit off the bench and surrounding sidewalk. Despite the warnings, the lady came every day. The park service employees and volunteers felt that they could not take any action against the old lady because of her frailty and age, so they begrudgingly spent extra time scrubbing the sidewalk and bench at the end of almost every day.

One day a female park worker was near the bench in late morning when the old lady came in her purple overcoat and ugly floral dress. The lady sat on the bench and slowly opened her bread bag and within seconds she was surrounded by many pigeons. The worker had been picking up garbage in the grass but decided to take it upon herself to confront the old woman.

The worker said, “You know you can’t do that.”

The old lady slowly looked up at her with a frail voice and said, “I know damn well I can’t.”

The attendant crossed her arms, “Then why are you doing it?”

The old lady replied, “Because the pigeons are reliable.”

Confused, the attendant asked, “What do you mean?”

The lady slowly responded with, “It means that these damn pigeons are the only thing I can be sure of. They are here every day. They always show up.”

“Well, can’t you rely on the pigeons somewhere else?”

The old lady suddenly became cross, “Only if you carry me there, dumb ass. You think this old body of mine could walk far enough to go somewhere else? I live just over there.” The old lady pointed indistinctly to the left of her.

“It’s been very annoying having to clean up all the bird…” the worker caught herself from cussing, “… poop.”

“I’m sorry you have to put in the extra time,” the old lady was frustrated, having had this argument with many other park workers in the past, “but this is the highlight of my whole day, so if you don’t mind leaving me alone that would be great.”

“Well I hope you understand that you just waste our valuable time when we have to clean up the mess you make here.” The attendant snapped back, unable to control herself.

“As sure as I am that the pigeons will return here every day, you can be sure to clean up after them.” The old lady hissed.

The park employee retorted, “As sure as I am that the pigeons will come when you’re here, they won’t return when you’re gone.”

The old woman looked up at the attendant with a pained expression. The expression slowly turned to anger, and then it softened, and with great purpose she said, “I am sure that you are wrong.” Then she turned away from the attendant and continued her slow, repeating rhythm of tossing the bread onto the ground.

Weeks passed before the female park worker and the old lady saw each other again.

The female worker was passing by the old lady on the bench when the old lady hissed, “You missed a spot.” She motioned towards all the pieces of shit on the ground.

The attendant stopped and looked at her with great malice and said, “One day soon there will be no spots to miss.”

The old lady pondered carefully what to say next, and with great conviction she said, “Only the selfish say that the value of life is ease.”

The worker retorted, “Only the selfish make things harder for others.”

The old lady laughed, “Well then, honey, you’ve never been in love.” She looked back towards the pigeons and tossed them more bread.

The park worker turned and walked away, silently mumbling a curse under her breath.

It was over six months later before they spoke to each other again. The female worker tried to pass the old lady without her noticing, but the old lady looked up at her with surprise and said, “You’re pregnant.”

The worker stopped, straightened up and rubbed her protruding stomach, “I am pregnant, yes.” She said with no tone of friendliness towards the old lady.

“Not that I care too much,” the old lady stated, “but congratulations. Obviously I was mistaken when I said you’ve never been in love.”

The female worker looked down, “No, this wasn’t from love.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.” The old lady bowed her head.

The two women were silent while the pigeons stirred at their feet and flew around their heads. The worker watched the pigeons look at the old lady in anticipation as the old lady tossed another handful of crumbs onto the ground. The pigeons went wild, scrambling to be the first to gobble up the broken bread. In that moment the pigeons seemed ferocious.

The worker looked back up at the old lady and asked, “Do you have kids?”

The old lady tossed another handful of bread on the ground before answering, “Yes. I had two.”

The worker leaned closer to the lady, “Is it easy?” She asked, “Raising children, I mean.”

The old lady smiled, “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

The park employee was stuck in thought before asking, “Do they visit you often?”

The old lady stiffened and tossed another handful of bread. Her voice was strained, “Just leave me be, please. I like being undisturbed when I feed the birds. Good luck with your child. Bye now.”

A couple months passed and the female worker’s stomach grew larger. She worked in the park until the final days of her pregnancy, and then she gave birth to a little baby girl. She couldn’t afford to take much time off work so two short weeks after giving birth she returned to the park, leaving the baby in her sister’s care during the day.

“Good news,” a male coworker said on her first day back, “The old lady hasn’t been in the park for two days. The first time in years!”

“Oh really?” The female questioned, “That’s very strange.”

“Maybe the old crone finally croaked.” The male laughed.

There was palpable silence.

The female asked, “Do the pigeons still come around?”

The male replied —

The End.

Cody’s Guide On How To Be Single

People ask me all the time, “Cody, why on earth are you still single?” They don’t actually ask me that but I’d like to think that they do inside their head. I feel like it counteracts the many times they’ve said to me, “Cody, you’re such a mess,” or “Cody, please stop doing that.”

My close friend’s are able to see through my messy exterior and see that there is a pretty-alright-if-you-look-hard-enough guy inside. Although I’ve never technically ‘dated’ anyone, I’ve had my fair share of successfully unsuccessful relationships.

Take for instance my first of these relationships: He was a hot sparky from Calgary. He was muscular, ginger, and now that I look back he was pretty boring. I was madly infatuated with him and he decided to end it with me and run away with a porn star from Vegas. Yikes. That relationship only lasted a month.

Then my next relationship came along. He was a man working in the oil fields. He wasn’t as good looking as the previous relationship but sometimes I feel charitable (Just kidding, I’m sure I was the charity). We saw each other on and off for six months. He tried to teach me to drive manual in his truck once – and once was enough for him after we slid backwards down a dirt hill with me screaming, “WHY!?” It came to light that he had major anger issues when he took a baseball bat to his classic mustang one night. He also had night terrors and scared the shit out of me when he told me he saw a gang hanging outside the house. I also accidentally punched him in the nose when we were making out and he bled all over my face. We would sleep on an air mattress on the floor because why get a bed when an air mattress is fine? In the sixth months I was with him we never had sex. I ended the relationship with him and he went to Mexico to ‘sort his life out’.

I am no good at flirting either. I had a guy come up to me in the gay club in my hometown and say, “You’re the hottest guy here.” I responded with, “Oh wow you must be blind.” and then I sank into the crowd, never to be seen by him again.

I’ve also tried my hand at flirting by saying to a guy once, “I would love to go home with you but I haven’t showered in three days.” He didn’t even end up giving me his number.

Another time I was drunk and I refused to go home with a guy because he didn’t have any alcohol in his house.

Next of my failed relationships was with this big, muscular sporty guy. We saw each other on and off for over a year and he was too embarrassed by me to even introduce me to his friends. I was so infatuated I didn’t care and it ended up being really toxic for me. I understand why, in hindsight, because I was in the messiest time in my life and the poor guy had to buy all my meals because I was so insanely poor. But he was incredibly hot and his calf muscles were as big as my head so it was a confidence booster that he wanted to be with me. It was the first time I’ve ever felt good looking, which for a kid that grew up incredibly ugly it was quite an astounding revelation. I drooled on his chest once and I was like, “Oh god I’m so sorry.” and he replied with, “It’s ok you do it almost every night.” Fuck. My. Life.

Another relationship I ended up in was pretty tragic. We bonded over crystal meth and it caused my relapse. We were both quite psychotic due to the drugs and I’m quite happy it’s all over. I’ve been meth free for a year and a half now. Out of respect I won’t say more than that because, even though he acted batshit crazy, I really can’t judge. It was bad. It was weird. I can’t stress enough that I wish him all the best.

I do find that I am quite lonely sometimes. Sometimes I wish I had someone to cuddle, to talk too. But then I remember I’m only 23 and I laugh at myself for being so stupid. Don’t get me wrong, if a relationship happens then it happens – But I’m happily single and don’t mind staying this way. I love myself a lot – it’s not a bad thing either. I think in life, loving yourself is the most important. It may sound conceited or selfish, but I think it’s pretty fundamental. I feel whole in myself that I don’t feel like I need someone to complete me. Lot’s of guys think I’m weird, but I love that. I love openly and am myself, and that is what’s important to me. If someone comes along that can fit in to that then I can make it work.

So I guess what I’m saying is; in Cody’s Guide On How To Be Single, you should just embrace it. Don’t care about it. Don’t think too much about it. Life’s too short to rely on someone so rely on yourself. The rest will fall into place. You can learn a lot about yourself from dating, but you’ll learn more from being single.

An Overdose

Some know basic details, few know the full story. It’s hard to explain what happened to me on that night. There are two perspectives of the story: One from my point of view and one from my friend Cheryl. Cheryl’s perspective paints the fuller picture but for personal reasons I am not going to write from her perspective because I find it too disturbing. So, as confusing as telling the story from my perspective will be, you’ll be able to enjoy the confusion I felt as it was happening.

I had relapsed back into my addiction with crystal meth, though it’s hard to say whether that played a part in my overdose or not. See, I technically didn’t overdose on crystal meth. It was on a drug that used to be legal in Australia two years ago, a drug that is still legal in Canada:

Synthetic weed.

Cheryl and I had just arrived to her house after watching a concert. I had a couple glasses of wine at the concert and I was keen to get stoned. She grabbed the bong and told me where to find the marijuana – it was in the coffee table drawer. The drawer was filled with all kinds of things; papers for rolling, lighters, small trinkets. In the back of the drawer I found a little bag of what I presumed to be weed. I brought the baggie to my nose and inhaled; it had an odd, chemical-like smell. I didn’t think much of it.

We went out onto her balcony and I sat on a chair opposite Cheryl. I packed a bowl for myself, sparked the lighter, and finished the cone in one giant hit. It tasted like bleach and I thought of how weird that was. It was hardly a few seconds before I felt something was wrong. I remember saying to my friend, “This is really strong.” She chuckled. But right after I said it I thought, this isn’t strong, this is really bad. Something is really wrong. I tried to scream for help but nothing came out of my mouth, instead Cheryl slowly blurred out of my vision. Everything went black.

The next part is hard to describe and I can hardly understand what happened myself, but after everything went black I still knew what was going on. I couldn’t feel anything, see anything, smell anything – all my senses were switched off and I was all alone in my own head. I seemed to be in my head for a while, wondering why everything went black, wondering why I was unable to feel anything. Was I dead?

Suddenly a flash – my vision was blindingly white. I could hear a familiar voice say, “He’s going to throw up.” I felt like I was spinning around in a dryer. Something was rammed down my throat and my whole body wretched. Everything went black again.

After an unspecified time of total darkness a white speck appeared in my vision. It was so tiny I hardly noticed it at first. The appearance of the speck was accompanied by a high pitched sound that sounded like the dial tone of a telephone, just at a higher frequency. The dot started moving in slow spirals. The movement of the dot caused the noise to grow louder. The dot started moving faster and faster and the noise began to get louder and louder. It was hell. I was sure of it. I was in hell. The noise became so loud I couldn’t even bare it anymore. It was splitting my mind apart. I was being ripped to shreds because of it.

I thought it couldn’t get any worse until a second dot appeared, this time accompanied by another high pitched wail. The old speck started to vanish but the noise it made remained at the splintering frequency. This new dot started spinning like the first, it’s noise also getting louder. Now I heard two different frequencies that were so unbearable I wanted to die. I actually was wishing for death. I’m not being dramatic or overreacting, the sensation was so powerful that I was hoping it was the prelude to death. I only wished for silence.

The sequence repeated with a third dot. And with a fourth. And with a fifth, and a sixth, a seventh, an eighth, ninth, tenth, twentieth, fiftieth… it seemed never ending. I was lost in eternity with a hundred different frequencies that looped over themselves.

But then there was silence. There was darkness. I was relieved. Maybe now I was dead.

The first sense to come back to me was my hearing. I heard a bunch of voices, one of whom seemed to be yelling at me but the words were muffled.

Next I was able to feel. I couldn’t move my arms. What the fuck is wrong with my arms?

I was underwater. I’m drowning, I’m fucking drowning. Air wasn’t passing through my oesophagus.

What is that fucking noise?

It sounded robotic.

Suddenly, I could see light. It was so white.

Someone was still yelling but the words didn’t make sense to me. I thought I heard a female voice yell, “Breathe Cody! Keep breathing!”

How can I breathe when I’m underwater?

I tried to move my arms again but I was still unable to move them. I felt claustrophobic and started to move my body around violently.

“Stay still, Cody!” The voice said, “And remember to breathe…. BREATHE!”

I was holding my breath. The voice got closer but I could only see white light. The voice said, “Cody, I know it feels weird, but you need to breathe. You have a breathing apparatus on which is why it feels weird.”

Something was ripped from my face and I could suddenly see blurry figures. A woman was bent over close to my face and she said, “Hey Cody, did you hear me? You have a breathing apparatus on and I need you to breathe. You need to inflate your lungs and deflate them. It’s weird because you can’t feel the air but I assure you everything is fine.”

My head hurt so much and her words took a long time to make sense. I stopped holding my breath and I could feel my lungs expand even though air wasn’t passing through my mouth.

I realised then that my mouth felt like it was pried open. I could feel something down my throat.

The blurry figures were slowly coming into focus. I tired to lift my head but the woman said firmly, “Don’t move your head.”

I tried to yell at her but something was pressing my tongue to the floor of my mouth.

I finally understood why I couldn’t move my arms; they were tied up. I started to panic again and began to pull at my restraints. Tears rolled down my cheeks. The woman said to me, “Cody, don’t pull at the ties. We had to restrain you because you kept ripping out your IV’s during your seizures.”

My seizures? What seizures?

The woman continued, “I’m gonna untie you now though, but please don’t move around. Can you do that for me?”

I obviously couldn’t answer her but I stopped struggling.

“Ok I’m going to untie you now.”

As soon as my one hand was free I brought it up to my face, ignoring what the woman said. A large apparatus protruded from my mouth, it felt plastic. The woman grabbed my hand and said, “We will remove the breathing apparatus soon, but please keep your arms by your side.” I put my arm back down. My vision was coming into focus and I could see that she was in a nurse uniform. The nurse untied my other hand. There were two other people standing around me as well: one looked like a man and the other was definitely a woman.

“Cody, we will remove your breathing apparatus now. We just need you to hold still please.”

Someone unclipped something close to my face. I felt a pressure being relieved around my mouth.

“Ok, we are going to remove the tube now. It’s going to feel really uncomfortable so please don’t struggle. Ok, removing it now.”

I could feel something rip up from inside my body right out of my throat. It scratched as it rose and made me unable to breathe for a second. I coughed as air passed through my mouth for the first time. I was catching my breath and trying to speak, my voice was weak and hoarse, but I managed to say, “Where am I?”

The one nurse got close to my face and said, “You’re in the hospital. You had some seizures and are coming out of a medically induced coma.”

I was too fuzzy to even try to make sense of what she was saying. I lifted my head slowly and saw three IV’s coming out of my left arm, two coming out of my right.

I noticed I had two hoses going up my nose as well and I realised there was something snaking up my leg and right to my… FUCK! I thought, NO NO NO NO! It was a catheter.

I slowly drifted from being fuzzy to slightly less fuzzy. I was exhausted. I wondered where my friend Cheryl was. The nurses were trying to get my medical insurance details from me but I was hardly in the mood for formalities and didn’t know where my insurance card was.

The nurse handed me a phone, it was Cheryl on the line. She said, “I’m so sorry, Cody. I had to go to work and I thought that Shane” – another friend of mine – “would be there when you woke up. I’m so sorry.” She offered to go to my house after her work and look for my insurance card. I understood why Cheryl was unable to stay, she had a very prestigious job. She’s an amazing friend for keeping me well until the ambulance arrived when I first started having the seizures. I love her to bits.

Shane arrived not long after the phone call and sat with me all day. He’s the greatest friend I could ask for.

Aldo brought me flowers and came to see me even though he was hungover. He’s so special to me it’s insane.

My friend Kathleen brought me underwear (I woke up naked and in a diaper for gods sake! They had to cut all the clothes off me in the ambulance.) She’s like my fairy godmother.

I was visited by another friend and he brought me some soul food… McDonalds. It was awesome. There was a couple other’s as well who came and I am so happy they did.

The doctor came when all my friends were by my side and officially explained what had happened. He said I had about sixteen seizures in a row and was placed into a medically induced coma to stop them. When I arrived to the hospital in the ambulance I had stopped breathing and was a code red (I can’t remember what the code was actually called but lets just say it was ‘red’), which meant that all the doctors in ICU had to stop what they were doing immediately and come help me. All up I had eight doctors trying to save my life. I thank them for their work.

When I heard the story from Cheryl’s perspective I was deeply disturbed. What happened during my seizures is something I never would want to witness myself and I am deeply thankful to Cheryl for keeping her composure.

I am thankful every day for the friends who came to see me after I woke out of the coma. They’ve always been like family to me and I keep them close to my heart always.

I am now predisposed to have seizures. Because I am more susceptible I have a blacklist of things I’m not allowed to do to my brain; including taking crystal meth. So in a way, my overdose on synthetics saved my life. I’ve been free from crystal meth for a year and a half now.

The first day I was discharged from hospital I was with Cheryl and we went to this market that was outside in the parking lot. In the market I saw two earrings: A bird and an elephant. I bought them and wore them for a year and a half. I thought of them as my ‘healing earrings’. This weekend I took them out for the first time and replaced them with two new earrings: A peace symbol and a diamond.

May I never overdose again.

The Sickness 

I’m laying in bed with the man that I really like. We’re in Sydney, and to be brash we just had sex. We aren’t cuddling but he’s laying next to me and the sides of our arms are touching as we both lay on our backs. He’s asleep – or at least I think he is because his eyes are closed and his breathing is heavy. His barrel chest slowly moves up and down. I like the sound of him breathing, it’s deep and powerful. It makes me feel safe. 

The power of infatuation is the spell I’m under. In this time of my life I need a protector, someone I can confide in. Someone who likes me despite the lifestyle I have warped myself in. 

Sex for me doesn’t come easy. It’s not because I’m bad at it, it’s because it comes with baggage. Being a prostitute skews my view of sex and it’s hard to detach work from life. Some nights I spend with him are easy – my problems slide from view and I just live in the moment. Other nights his touch feels unfamiliar. His face unreachable. A haze hangs over our encounter and it’s like I’m watching us lay in bed from a distance. I forget who I am and it’s hard for me not to get and up and run away. 

He doesn’t know this double side of me. I’ve mentioned to him that sometimes it’s hard to seperate work from personal life but I don’t feel like he understands the depth of it. 

I can feel a layer of sweat build between our arms that are touching. It feels really hot in this room. I can feel the heat radiating off of him and it’s starting to give me anxiety. He rolls over facing me and puts his arm around me. I know he’s asleep for sure now because his eyes are still closed and I can hear a very subtle snore. 

His arm feels like a vice. It’s just resting on top of my chest but I feel like it weighs a thousand pounds. The panic and anxiety start to overcome me. I feel him vanishing in the distance and my head clouds with memories I have tried many nights to drink away. 

His arm isn’t a vice anymore, it’s a grater. I feel like the tiny movements of his arm across my chest as he breathes are slowly taking away my skin. I can feel his breath on my neck and it makes me feel like I’m being burned. I want to run. I can’t handle this. I roll over so he stops touching me but he pulls me into a spooning position and I want to scream. My temples are pulsing from my fast heart beat and I try and control my breathing. I try and lay still as to not wake him up. 

I fucking hate this. 

I fucking hate myself. 

I’m a disgusting human being. 

I don’t deserve this. 

I lay awake until morning. His alarm goes off at 7am to remind him to get ready for work. He kisses me good morning and I feel sick. I try my best to make small talk but all I want to do is get out of there. 

I want to be alone. 
I’m sick in the brain. 
Help me. 

Help me. 

The Truth: Part 35

We were well into our giant bender when Scott finally woke up. I had checked on him numerous times throughout the night to make sure that we weren’t being too loud, but each time he was fast asleep. Once I heard him murmur in his sleep. I hoped the sound meant he was having a good dream, but hope turned into despair as the murmur turned into another groan of pain escaping Scott’s lips while he slept. How can one dream of good things during these times?

“Make sure you’re being careful,” Scott said to me once he was awake. I didn’t need to tell him what we were up too downstairs. He just knew the answer and looked at me with big, soft eyes.

“I am.” I said, sitting on the end of his bed. I could hear Brendan and Ben laughing loudly downstairs.

“I think I’m going to start trying to go up and down the stairs soon.” Scott said hopefully with a twinkle in his eye.

Through my drugged state I managed to give a warm smile, “That’s awesome.”

Scott smiled back and we sat and didn’t talk, instead we listened to the mumbled conversation downstairs.

Suddenly I found myself singing softly under my breath, “It’s not easy being green, it seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things.”

Scott looked at me with surprise, “That’s Kermit the Frog, right?”

“Yeah. I don’t know why but it’s stuck in my head. I think I heard it on a commercial or something.”

Scott sang softly as well, “I am green and it’ll do fine. It’s beautiful! And I think it’s what I want to be.

Downstairs; Brendan, Chris, Jay and Ben had started smoking a new bag of crystal. Ben had just been passed the pipe by Brendan and had started smoking it. I sat across from Jay, who was staring at me weirdly once again. All night Jay had been staring at me, and when I would notice he would let out a cheeky grin and look away. There seemed to be some animosity between the ‘threesome’ of boys… their three-way relationship was on the rocks, the magnitude of problems rising from Chris and Ben; Ben’s love for Chris was waning while Chris’s jealousy of Ben and Jay was growing. It was like watching the slow tick tick tick of a bomb about to go off. Random stares and mean-hearted glances were thrown between the three all night.

We didn’t do much the first night, nor the second. We smoked lots of meth and played games. Chris made lots of off-hand jokes about body temperature that I didn’t understand, Ben and Jay had their own secret conversations. Nick spent lots of time on his phone.

Brendan, on the other hand, was a wild card. When on crystal he was all over the place. Sometimes he would spent hours on his phone. Sometimes he would talk at a fast pace about random shit for hours. Other times he would clean whoever’s house we were smoking in. On rare occasions he would fall asleep in the middle of a conversation and wake up hours later. His behaviour was always sporadic and confusing. Brendan was the only one of the friend group who intimidated me. When he was in a good mood he was fun, when he was in a bad mood he was horrible. I always had the impression that Brendan didn’t like me, only because whenever we were together (and especially when he was on meth) he would make fun of everything I did. He would ask what was wrong with my hair, or why I chose to wear a certain bad outfit. He would tell me I was annoying on crystal meth (granted, I probably was) or that my voice was annoying. On the outside Brendan appeared to be a nice person, but nine times out of ten he wasn’t. That night I avoided direct conversation with him until he said, “Cody, what the fuck is wrong with you?”

I had been spaced out with that Kermit the Frog song stuck in my head, “What?” I asked.

“You’re staring at the wall.” He laughed.

“Oh, I was just thinking about something for a second.”

“Naw man, you’re fucked. You look fuuuuuucked up!”

“I’m not feeling too fucked. I was just spaced.”

“Cody, believe me, you’re fucked. Look at yourself, god! Your pupils are HUGE. Your hair is a fucking mess. You need help, mate.” Brendan laughed while Nick put his phone away and joined him. I must have not looked too impressed because next Brendan said, “Oh come on. We are just kidding. You need to grow a fucking backbone.”

“I do have a backbone!” I said a little too aggressively.

Nick piped in, “Did Brendan hurt little Cody’s feelings. Awe, so sweet.”

I tried to say, “No, he didn’t hurt my…”

“Awe, Cody is hurt.”

“Fuck off I’m not hurt.” I defended.

“Why don’t you build a bridge and get over it!” Nick said mockingly.

“No, I don’t care.” I said.

“Yes you do,” Brendan interjected.

“No, I’m just…”

“Awe look, he’s still going.” Nick laughed.

“Yeah because…” I tried to say.

“Oh my god, GET OVER IT CODY!” Brendan said with a wave of his hand, “Fuck you’re always so sensitive. We are just joking. Fuck.”

I remained silent and tried to hide my frustration. I felt my phone vibrate, it was a message from Jay.

Jay: I’m sorry they’re so mean to you.

I looked up at Jay who was already staring at me. It clicked in my mind then that maybe Jay liked me. I pushed the thought out as soon as I had it. I can’t get involved in this three-way relationship, I thought, It would get so messy.

For the second day in a row we watched the sun rise without any sleep or food. It was decided that all six of us were going to go to work that day. We decided to power smoke the rest of our crystal meth first since we wouldn’t risk having it at work. It seemed like a good idea until I saw how much we had left. Normally I would have three to four puffs on the pipe every hour… that alone could keep you up for days. That morning, in the space of ten minutes, I powered through ten good rips. We all did. Mixing ten rips with the fact I hadn’t slept or eaten for over two days was recipe for disaster.

“Oh we some fried chicken,” Brendan squealed as he pulled his vehicle onto the road. All six of us fit into his small car as we set off for work.

“It’s too fucking cold! Turn up the heat!” Ben yelled over the loud music Brendan was playing.

“No way! I’m so fucking hot!” Nick retaliated while opening the passenger-side window.

“Yeah, I’m really hot too.” said Chris, almost to himself.

“Yeah we get it.” Brendan said abruptly. Everyone went quiet, “You’re hotter than everyone else.”

Chris looked embarrassed as he said, “Two degrees hotter, actually.”

“Fuck,” said Nick, “I knew you were on about something.”

I had no clue what was going on. Everyone seemed to be in on something except for me.

“I heard rumors but I didn’t think it was actually true. If you don’t want people to know you shouldn’t be making obvious jokes about it.” Brendan laughed.

“Yeah, you saying I’m warmer than everyone else is a huge giveaway.” Nick added.

I finally spoke up, “Giveaway about what?” Everyone turned to me.

Nick said, “Chris is two degrees warmer…” I was still puzzled, “… His body temperature isn’t the same as healthy people…” I still didn’t respond “… There were rumors going around…”

“I have no idea what you’re on about,” I felt stupid saying.

After a couple seconds of silence, Ben said, “Chris, did you want to tell him?”

Chris answered, “Yeah,” and then he turned to me and said, “Cody, when people have HIV their resting body temperature is two degrees warmer than those that don’t. I have HIV.”

(I have to stop here and say that, after researching this ‘fact’, I am unable to find its validity. This is the conversation that happened, and everyone believed at the time that HIV positive people were 2 degrees warmer than other people at resting body temperature. But I am unable to confirm the scientific accuracy of said statements.)

“Oh, ok.” I responded.

“None of us care that you have it,” Nick said reassuringly to Chris, “I have a couple friends who are HIV positive. It doesn’t bother me.”

“It doesn’t bother me neither.” Brendan agreed.

“Yeah, I don’t care either.” I agreed as well.

The rest of the car ride I wanted to ask Chris questions about the disease but instead I tried to focus on not dying; I felt like an alien was about to burst out of my chest.

At Knight Call I was fucked up. I had never felt that high before on crystal meth; powering through the rest of the stash before work was starting to seem like a bad idea. I was shaking and tripping over my words. I tried my hardest to act normal in front of the manager on duty, Robert, but he kept looking at me with suspicious eyes. When Dave found out I had done crystal meth a few weeks back word got around quickly that I had done it and Robert was one of the first to step forward and talk to me about it. He kept saying to be very careful with it, and warned me to avoid Chris, Ben and Jay. And so Robert looked at me with suspicion, and then disappointment. He didn’t need to say it; I knew that he knew I was high.

I tried to calm my nerves once I got into the Boy’s Room. Luckily the only other person working a shift besides the group I arrived with was Bruce (the new Irish guy), and he tended to keep to himself. I was very quiet as I observed Nick, Brendan, Chris, Ben and Jay handle their highs with grace. I just sat quietly and tried to not have a heart attack. It felt like something was trying to crawl out of my throat. I had a hard time swallowing. My forehead was greasy and my palms were sweaty.

What seemed like hours were actually minutes. Brendan was called off to see a client. Then Nick was gone as well. Chris, Ben and Jay randomly left as well to see a private client, and soon it was just Bruce and I in the room. I silently prayed to no particular god that I didn’t want a client. I wasn’t in the right state for it. I felt like I was spinning really fast and couldn’t shake it. The silence suddenly was crawling under my skin and I found that I needed to say something out loud or else I would implode.

“How are you and Jason doing? Where is he?” I asked Bruce as calm as possible, remembering to breathe and pause at the appropriate intervals.

“We are doing well,” He answered with suspicion, “He’s working in the underwear shop.”

“Oh cool,” I said, regretting that I said anything at all. Trying to force out words was infinitely worse than sitting in silence.

I didn’t say anything else. We both sat in silence watching reruns of Futurama on the TV. I felt like I couldn’t move, so I sat in a hunched position for quite a while until I swear I heard Bruce say, “Cody?”

“Yes?” I answered without looking at him.

I didn’t hear what he said, but I guessed that he said, “How are you doing?”

I felt like it was odd that he asked me so long after I had asked him, but without looking at him I made up a lie about my day and what I had been up too recently, “… And then I went to the beach and it was amazing. I heard you live in Bondi? That’s amazing! I’ve only been there once but I really would love to go again. What do you think of it?” I asked and turned my head to look at him. But what I saw came as a shock.

Bruce wasn’t there.

I quickly stood up and looked around frantically. My heart pounded so hard I swear my whole body pulsed along with it. He was just there. He had just asked me a question. I remembered hearing his voice. A sudden thought about the second coming of Christ raced through my mind and suddenly I felt like I was in Left Behind. I looked out the glass door to make sure he wasn’t having a cigarette, but he wasn’t there. I even stupidly lifted a couple of throw pillows as if he were a lost tv remote.

Suddenly I heard Robert’s voice and it made me jump, “Carl, what are you doing?”

“Oh umm, I thought I lost something.” I lied, putting my hands behind my back as if I were hiding something.

“You have an outcall… they want you to come in twenty minutes, so you’ll have to leave here now.”

“Ok,” I said, hardly holding in my disappointment. I debated telling Robert that I wasn’t able to do it. Just tell him you’re sick, I said to myself. Instead I said out loud, “Hey, do you know where Bruce went?”

“Carl, Bruce has been gone for about an hour with a client.”

 

*    *    *    *   *    *

 

I had a mini panic attack in the taxi ride to the hotel to see the client.

When I was with the client I was unable to perform at my peak. The client looked at me with disappointment and within 15 minutes told me to go home and go to bed. I still got paid, but it was the first time a client had kicked me out.

“You’re terrible,” the client said before shutting the door on me.

Stupidly I went back to work in hopes that Nick and Brendan were back. Luckily they were and I told Nick about how fucked up I felt.

“Oh my god, really? I feel fine. It’s probably in your head.” Nick said.

Brendan said more bluntly, “You just can’t handle it.”

“No, this is seriously fucked you guys. I’ve never felt like this before.” I pleaded.

“You just don’t know how to let the high take over. Stop fighting it.” Brendan advised me.

“I don’t think that’s what this is.” I said as a last ditch effort to make them realise that I felt like something was wrong with me.

Even though I knew that Robert knew I was high, I didn’t want to give him any excuse to bring it up. So instead of doing the smart thing and going home, I stayed at Knight Call.

I got another client that night. This time the client came to Knight Call to use one of the rooms.

I entered the room. I took my clothes off. I hopped on the bed. He pulled me in. I kissed him once. Then he said, “Nope. Naw. Nope. Fuck this. I don’t want you. You’re fucked. I don’t want you.”

“What are you talking about? I’m fine.” I said a little too brashly.

“You’re not even hard, and your skin stinks. Something is wrong with you.”

I was immediately offended, “Umm my dick isn’t a fucking button that I can turn on and off. I don’t just get hard immediately.”

“No, I don’t want you. I want someone else.”

“But I…”

“Please leave now.”

When I shut the door behind me I realised I didn’t even get any money off him.

I now hold the record for the quickest to be kicked out of the room… I was in there for less than two minutes. I also was the first one to be kicked out twice in one day.

After being kicked out a second time that day I decided to bite the bullet and go home.

When I went to bed I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t toss and turn, instead I lay perfectly still staring up at the ceiling, watching it pulsate and pondering my sanity.

It’s not easy being green,” I silently sang, “It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things.

The pulsating ceiling turned from being frightening to being comforting. Soon I found myself drifting to a much needed sleep.