Tales of the Inner City: The Virus (Part 3)

Marc D. Goldfinger
Spare Change News

Taken from The Diaries of the Damned—written before the Tales of Communion——Insect-O-War.

Finally it was time to leave the bar. As Dean and Peddlar hit the streets Sky continued to hypnotize his followers, slipping them the odd bag of dope or shot of Jack Daniels as they needed it.
Peddlar and Dean were loaded. Both of them barely could keep their eyes open after shooting half a bundle of dope each. They argued briefly about who was going to drive, but then Peddlar slipped into the driver’s seat of the old Mercury and, reticently but actually relieved, hoping to get a good nod in, Dean rode shotgun.
Of course, if he had a shotgun, he would have just drooled on it and possibly gummed up the gun. Dean closed his eyes. Peddlar chose, in the middle of the dark early morning hours, after 2 AM, to drive through the city in the hope of finding a coffee shop where he might find liquid toothpicks to keep his eyes open.
No such luck.
Baboom! Dean jolted forward in his seat as he felt the impact and Peddlar’s eyes snapped open just in time to see the old woman rolling up the hood of the 51 Mercury as she hit the windshield, though not hard enough to break through.
She was broken. The glass cracked.
Dean fumbled for the door handle, found it, flipped it and stumbled out into the street still in half dream. It hit his nose first, the smell of fresh wet blood. Then, he saw her. She was still draped over the large round hood of the car.
Dean leaned against the car, put his hand on his forehead and then took it down and pounded on the car. He heard someone moaning and looked at the woman but then he realized the moan was coming from his gut.
‘Why, why, why had he let Peddlar drive through the city instead of cruising the highway where nobody would be,’ Dean was thinking. He looked at Peddlar.
“What the fuck, man! We better do something,” Dean said as he looked around to see if anyone was watching.
‘Christ,’ he thought, ‘nobody in the street but all the windows, the windows, anybody could be looking’ but he saw no lights in the buildings nearby. Old dingy apartments and broken down factories, some abandoned.
Peddlar pushed the woman off the hood of the car and she rolled, heavy and limp, her head right in front of the driver’s front wheel.
“Let’s go, let’s go,” Dean hissed, “before somebody comes” as he tried to convince himself ‘that it was late night and no one should have been around.’
Peddlar bent down to drag the woman away from the front of the car and she looked like she wasn’t breathing at all. “Man, she’s probably dead. She’s no one if she’s out here this late. Let’s roll,” Dean said. “We have pockets full of dope and nothing good can come of this.”
Dean jumped behind the steering wheel and Peddlar said, “but you’ll crush her head” and Dean shouted, “Get in now or stay. I’m outta here.”
He cranked the car over.
Peddlar hesitated for a second, then he hopped into the front seat and Dean slammed the shifter into first gear, popped the clutch and hit the gas.
His smack high was blown and he couldn’t wait to get somewhere so he could shoot another bag and get right. He just did not want to be himself at that moment.
He gunned the old Mercury; Peddlar was just sitting there like he was in shock or something, breathing heavy. Dean drove about five city blocks, saw a closed supermarket parking lot and pulled in.
“What the Christ are you doin’,” said Peddlar.
“I’m just gonna take a hit and get well,” Dean mumbled in a whiny tone. He couldn’t believe what had just happened. He couldn’t believe what had just taken place; it was like a nightmare but he was awake.
Dean brought the car to a stop next to the building, killed the lights (but made sure he was under a little spotlight on the building so he could see) and pulled out his kit.
“This is nuts,” Peddlar said. “We should get out of here.”
“We will in a minute,” Dean said, as he unwrapped his spoon and gimmick, ripped open a bag with a razor blade and dumped it into the cooker, fumbled for the water bottle and drew up while Peddlar was shaking his head.
“It’ll be all right,” said Dean, as he flipped his Zippo lighter and held it under the spoon.
And that was when the lights started flashing, red and blue from all directions, if he only could get the hit before, and the water started to bubble, a dirty cotton still in the spoon and he was drawing it up as Peddlar jumped out the door and started to run and someone busted the glass window and yanked his door as the stuff spilled all over his pants. That’s when he started crying real tears, “My hit, my hit!” as the cops pulled him out of the car.
That was when Dean knew that it was going to be one messed up night.
And he blamed it on the virus.

(The Diaries of the Damned are segmented and complete copies are unavailable. It is said that, as fossil fuel became scarce, the diaries were written and/or cared for by literate bikers who traveled across the land in small groups. They were the last historians of post-modern times and the only people who cared to keep records during what came to be known as the Blasted Eras, the times which came before the reign of the Great Queens.)

Marc D. Goldfinger is a formerly homeless vendor who is now housed. He can be reached at: junkietroll@yahoo.comT

Marc D. Goldfinger is a member of the board of directors of the Homeless Empowerment Project, which publishes Spare Change news. Formerly homeless, he serves as the paper's poetry editor.

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