Free write dedicated to K. Osland.
What if I lay there on the floor. Goddamn that sounds dismal. I lay there on the floor and every once in a while, Tater Tot, my Persian first generation mutt, well, Tater walks over and licks my ear. One of my ears is against the floor because my head went sideways as I fell, but the other is up towards the ceiling. My hair was swept to the side from the rush of air that passed as my body collapsed towards the ground, exposing my other ear to the ceiling. And exposing it to Tater Tot, who licks it. He only licks it every few hours because he knows it’s no good and that I’m dead. He can tell because the ear gets colder each time he licks it and soon his tongue is warmer than the ear. He whines and paces in front of the door, occasionally taking a spot in his usual corner space in the dining room. But he doesn’t stay there long because he’s restless and hungry. Eventually he scours for crumbs in the crevices beneath the pale kitchen cabinets.
People know where I am. I mean, people know where I was last time they heard from me. Julia knows that I got home from work today because I texted her from my kitchen to tell her I was too tired for drinks, but another night. My dad knows that I got my mail from my mailbox that evening because I called him to thank him for the New York Times clipping of a Brazilian recipe which he’d so kindly stuffed in an envelope and sent even though I get the NYT already. The recipe called for coconut frawns, whatever the hell those are, and I doubt I’d ever go to the trouble of finding the overpriced store in Haight that happens to offer that sort of thing. I’m a five ingredient recipe kind of girl anyhow. It doesn’t matter so much now, as I’m belly down on the ground and dead.
I was sober. Was. I mean I’d always been sort of, almost sober. Every once in a while I’d slip and I’d binge on $3 margaritas at Juan’s and I’d end up with a morning full of insignificant regrets. So embarrassing. But that was only a couple times a year. The rest of the time I was safe and respectable and clean, but maybe that’s why I went too far. It wasn’t easy to get. I thought it would be easier. When I was a kid, my sister Althea would always brag about how she just snagged some coke off a friend or got some ecstasy for free from her pot dealer. I had this romantic picture of it my head, like I could just go to any old dark alley and proposition some musky guy who went by “Scratchy” to give me a cheap bit of heroine. I mean I couldn’t in my right mind ask any of my friends for leads. I did ask one guy at work, but he just sort of grimaced at me and turned back to his computer. He had hair like someone who would know a lot about sources for illegal substances. So then I had to put some real work in. I frequented sketchy bars on weekdays when the real lowlifes were out. I wore my hood up, like I’d seen in the movies, and I’d slide down the bar to ask the lonely guy sitting at the other end if he could hook me up. You know I ended up getting it from a blonde girl, could've been a teenager for all I know, who was asking for beer money outside a convenience store.
I don't know why I wanted it so bad. The idea just popped into my head one day when I was miserable, lying on my carpet in a curled of fetal position, crying because I didn't want to exist but I didn't have the courage to kill myself. It takes a lot of courage, you know. Not any old person goes and shoots themselves in the head. In fact, I quite respect people who can follow through with that. So instead of kill myself I thought I'd do something really risky and hope that it would turn out good for me. I guess it worked out how I wanted.