Larry laughed again. “It doesn’t matter. Profits are what count. My wife and kids have a nice place in another suburban town not far from here. The money I save on the drainage buys them plenty.”
“But we’re talking about poisoning the world here, the world that your children will inherit in the future.”
Larry glared at me.
“First of all, I’ll let them worry about the future. I’ve got to worry about right now. And what do you care anyhow, polluting yourself and everyone around you with that dope?”
I didn’t have anything else to say. I kept thinking about the stream. When I was younger it was filled with life. But now …
I went to the bathroom right after that conversation and fixed. The junk was powerful and I almost blacked out from the shot. Perspiration ran down my face and I rinsed with cold water and stared in the mirror. It was at that moment that I saw the man standing behind me. His features were definitely Asian, and he was laughing, yet I heard no sound. I whipped around. No one there.
I turned and looked into the mirror again and I could still see him. Still laughing. But it was his eyes. I stared into them in the mirror and they were like a television set with moving images. I could see the stream in his eyes, fish leaping from it one second, then dark water filled with bubbles, dead fish laying on the banks, smoke rising from the water. Suddenly his eye sockets became empty, the skin fell away from his face, his teeth were dropping from his mouth.
I screamed and then hit my face on the sink as the nod from the junk took me down. The jolt of hitting my own teeth against the porcelain sink woke me from the junk dream. One tooth was chipped. I shook my head. Only a junk vision.
I did not know it at that time–how could I?–,but I was to see that face again. And again. It was the face of Ar Lain Ta.
Later, I became homeless. I’ll tell you some more stories about that life and other visions, but first let me get to where I was supposed to be going with this story.
I finally kicked drugs and stayed clean and started writing again, putting together the pieces of my broken life. I thought about Casey all the time and decided to look him up.
That’s when I found out. He had been on a case tracking the ‘big man’ in the opium trade. The man he was hunting was known as Ar Lain Ta. There were some that called him the Dustman.
Suddenly Casey vanished into the ether. No trace. But there wererumors. Some said that he actually went all the way to the top. Casey’s last communication stated that he was on his way to meet Ar Lain Ta; the person who gave all the orders, the one who made the rules, the unreachable Mr. Big who lived in the mist of the minds of every law enforcement officer in the world.
The fact is, he did meet him. The truth? I’m going to tell you the story and I know you won’t believe me. That’s what they count on. In the human mind, a story like this just doesn’t wash. After you finish reading this you’ll just shake your head and go on with your business.
It took me almost two years to find Casey. In a shooting gallery in New York City. It takes a junkie to find one. He told me the story as we tied off together and fixed in a room full of other junkies. The other junkies,they know it’s true. But no one believes a junkie anyway.