Mystery and Crime Fiction posted October 22, 2017

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We can even be alone in the middle of a crowd.

Smoke and Shadows

by Priest B. Brown

The author has placed a warning on this post for language.

Mmm, my lighter is warm and this smoke tastes, ugh… so gross, so good.  That’s right little puff, drift away, slowly roll out of my mouth.  I wonder if I can still make smoke rings anymore.

What da hell now? I keep hearing all this whispering and noise around me, but I can't make out what they’re saying.  Are they even talking to me?  What are all these fuzzy shadows passing me by?  Don’t they know they don’t have any faces, no eyes, no noses! 

Ha, ha, maybe they should all go to the hospital? It looks like they’re all right out of some horror movies or something.  Maybe they can’t talk because they don’t have any mouths? What the fuck are they anyway?  

Man, this is some fucked up shit!  They just need to stay the fuck away from me.  If one of these freaky sonsofbitches get near me, I’m gonna cut ‘em!  I swear I will!  That’s right, whatever you are, they better stay the hell away from me.  That’s right muthafucka, best not come this way!  Faceless sonsofbitches.

I’m getting freaked out, and I better take another hit.  Man, that’s better.  The shadow people don’t look so bad now.  They look like little shitty clouds, all floating in front of me.  Maybe one of these little clouds will come sit with me.  It's been a while since I’ve talked to someone and I don’t give a fuck if it is a stupid cloud, just no shadows.  I’ve only been talking to myself lately, but I haven’t had much to say, even to me.  Don’t want to waste this.  Man, this shit is terrible.   I keep inhaling this stinky smoke, and it tastes awful too! This shit is really burning my eyes and throat, maybe that’s why I see only these ugly ass shadows and clouds?  Hey, maybe I’m smoking one of these clouds, wouldn’t that be a bitch!  Or maybe I’m bringing them to life!  Let me make a new cloud people.  Ah, what the hell, it’s just a little smoke, no people.  

I should really stop puffing on this now, and it’s starting to burn my hand.  I think I can get one more pull though.  Hmm, that last drag is always the nastiest!   Ha, ha, didn’t someone say that smoking can be ‘hazardous’ to your health, oh yeah that was for cigarettes.  Good thing I’m not smoking that, right?  I think I used to, but they got too expensive or something like that.  That’s was when I had a home, a family and that, uh, job. Why am I crying now?  I can’t even remember my kids’ faces.  They ain’t no kids anymore, probably… what day is it?

My family, oh man, I wonder where they at.  I think I was a good daddy, but that bitch of a wife, she ruined everything.  Always nagging me and saying that I had to be… responsible, go to rehab.  Fuck that shit!  Just because I lost that lame ass job and forgot to pick up the kids from school once and a while didn’t make me a bad father.  Besides, they didn’t care about me anyhow. So what I missed a few birthdays and games… doesn’t matter.  If they cared about me, they would accept me for me, not try to make me into some perfect father!  Who’s perfect anyways, definitely not them!  If they’re all that perfect then why don’t they find me!  I could use a home and somebody who really loves me, and then I won’t need to smoke this shit.  But no one cares about me.  There’s nobody out there that gives a rat’s ass, and I don’t give a fuck about them either!  They can all go to hell!

Ha, ha, maybe that’s why they haven’t come for me, they’re all in hell!  Wouldn’t that be a bitch?  That’s right little paper roach, you’re my only friend and family in this cold, cruel world. I guess crank really doesn’t care either, do you now little buddy? I’ve used you up, and all the good stuff is gone. I’ll just put you in this pocket, in case of an emergency.  Hmm, when did the tips of my fingers get so black and stained?  My hands look so skinny, and I thought they looked better than this.  Oh well, they’re still strong enough to knock the hell out of anybody that messes with me.

Ah, something smells good.  I should go get me a hot and a cot.  What the fuck, it’s starting to get cold out here.  So tired, my legs just don’t want to move from here. And I think that I'm getting sleepy. Man, that really was some powerful shit!  My heart is beating so fast, and it’s making it hard to breathe.  I might be or something.  Can’t be.  I just smoked a tiny joint.  Everybody knows that you can’t O.D. by smoking.

I just need to lay down on this bench and sleep this off.  Then I can get up and get something to eat.  Yeah, that sounds like a plan.  Shit, my body doesn’t even want to move to lay down.  I’ve never been this fucked up before.   Hey little cloud, come over here and help me lay down.

Why are all those clouds just ignoring me?  Wait, am I even talking?  I don’t hear me.  Oh wow, my mouth doesn’t even want to move.  What was in that joint?  Oh man, my pants are getting warm, am I pissing myself?  I think I’m pissing myself, but I can’t get up.  Nothing wants to move.  This is scarier than those shadows.  Am I dying, am I gonna die?

I’m too young to die, right?  It’ll take a helluva lot more than this shit to take me out.  I’m just a little wasted right now and… and I just need some sleep.  Wow, why is it so dark now?  I thought it was still daytime.  No wonder I’m so tired.  I’ll just get a few winks, and then I’ll be right as rain.  Right as rainnnn….

The blue-gloved hand of the paramedic checked for a pulse as the uniformed policeman stood next to him.  

“Anything?” the officer asked as he wrote notes in his small pad.

The paramedic shook his head.  “No, looks like he’s been dead for awhile.  His body is pretty cold, and rigor mortis has set in.  From the smell and the black around his lips and fingertips, he was probably a crack or meth addict.”

The policeman shook his head.  “Except for the sores and his rotten teeth, he wasn’t a bad looking guy.  How old do you think?”

The paramedic took in a deep breath.  “Maybe forty, or late thirties.  His skin looks pretty elastic still.  The drugs make them look a lot older than they really are.  Remember that girl on 5th street the other night that we found dead.  I thought she was mid-forties, but she was actually only 22 years old,” he said checking the man’s open blue eyes.  “Whatever killed her probably got him too.  Look how blue his lips and skin around his mouth is.   His eyes are bloodshot too.  It's obvious; he couldn’t breathe.  Poor bastard couldn’t even cry out for help, even if he wanted, most likely.  Shit, what a waste, dying out here all by himself, surrounded by people.”

The policeman nodded.  “Well, until we find out who's been pushing this stuff laced with rat poison, we’ll most likely find a lot more bodies.  But that’s the risk they take living like this,”  he blandly commented.


What If? contest entry

We can become isolated for many reasons. If we can't reach out to others, then we are truly alone, even in the midst.
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