Here I stand at the end of all things, a dead-end alleyway where all of our souls reside. Jack is my name, and if any piece of this makes sense to you, then you should run. Run now, and run fast. Never listen to a Shrib addict. Never. I hope you are not still listening.
Let’s begin where the beginning is. If there could ever be a beginning. She appeared from nothing and walked out through the prison gate. Her name was Tabatha, though I admit I couldn’t remember it then. Memories tend to get stuck. Batteries put in backward. All the energy none of the potential. Prison couldn’t phase her. She was a natural beauty, the kind of beauty that makeup cannot add to and cameras cannot capture. No one else could come out of a place like that and look like they were walking off a glossy magazine page. Do they even still print those? Do they print anything anymore?
She gets into my car, and somehow she is still my dealer. Her hand extends out and I deposit money. She rang my bell. This isn’t right. You know how it feels. Maybe you don’t. Your body is a truck stop waiting for the Earth to take a piss.
Standing at the street corner, I think it was the intersection of wherever and who knows, I could see it. Something that can’t be seen, something intangible. Only an addict can see their addiction playing out before their eyes. Strapped to a truck going 40 miles an hour, south. You don’t know which way is up. You don’t want to go south. But your legs keep carrying you there. Because they have to.
Another dealer, another town, might as well be the same. All these dealers I know. To be a successful Shrib addict you need to know quite a few. Paranoia is just the start. Soon you’ll think you are God. Soon after that, you’ll know it. Tiny universes like tumor nodules embedding themselves in my brain. I see the patterns. The sound that the train makes when it goes by is not uniform. It is communicating. Trust me. You have no reason to.
No need to inject or snort, just touch it. Most addicts didn’t even look for their first high. They had it forced on them. Infections and liberations are always attacked with the same vigor.
People go to jail, and they still come out holding. Like Tabatha. It did begin with her didn’t it? She dosed me right there. Didn’t even ask. That was typical Tabatha. I think. She is a little fuzzy. Her face was pockmarked, and her hair was matted. Her eyes knew things. They could whisper the sweet forgotten dreams of a childhood that you never had. She turned your brain into milky soup, and you thanked her for it. At least I did.
I think I used to wear a suit. Who wants to do that? I think I sat at a desk. At a computer. I moved numbers. One here, a two there. It all added up, but now it doesn’t. The soup doesn’t lie. Not when it’s seasoned properly. Now I hear the universe and see the wind. Now I know where I am going.
I go back to an alleyway after dropping off Tabatha. Or was it Becky? No. Wait. It wasn’t an alleyway, it was the alleyway. I remember having a knife. I remember holding it to my wrist. There was no threat. Nobody left to threaten. I can’t be threatened. Just feeling my pulse. Just understanding my body. A small drop of blood fell. That’s all that needed to fall. Inside it, I could see the nodules, the soup, and the universe. I knew all. I was all.
I turned my knife toward my true nemesis, my true love, the alleyway. It was an embodiment of everything that this world is. Was. A narrow dead end. A garbage dump under a different moniker. Sometimes you scream so loud you can’t hear it. Sometimes you can. Not the scream. A whisper of the world. Talk backward and you hear the devil, talk forwards and you hear reason. The data is all there.
My knife began carving its masterwork. My masterwork. This is the moment that the world built to. The Big Bang wasn’t a beginning. It was the setting of the stage. Now the curtains have finally opened. The children have devised a plan.
The patterns were simple at first. Concentric circles. Triangles. No words. There could be no words here. Words are too human. The patterns grew, and so too did the crowd. Some people kept walking. They had never used Shrib. Others watched with puzzled eyes. They hadn’t used enough. A select few of the enlightened populace joined in. They understood the work. Our minds fit together. Without a word, the idea was shared. I knew where every line would go, but I didn’t have to draw it.
Ice-cream trucks whine down the road, like sadistic ambulances leading lambs to slaughter. We do not listen. Doors open, but the work demands them to be closed, so they close. The knife never dulls and my strength never wanes. The pattern demands that it doesn’t. It must have been seven days, no forty, or maybe three-hundred-and-seventy. We worked until there was no work. I couldn’t count our number. We were one. They would take us away, but we’d come back. The pattern called us.
Now it is finished. A universe is created. We are all here. There are no rules, no fear, no possession, no bodies. We have no form, we have no soup. We don’t need it really. Never did. I leave behind this note in hopes that someone will find it. That someone will find hope. I will let the note fly. Look for the alleyway with no people. That’s where we all are. If you come please bring milk, ours has expired.