Ashley

The door opens and Ben leans in all proper and civilized.

“May I come in?”

I can see the crack pipe and the lighter in his hands. An adornment worn for half of his waking hours.

“Sure.”

He comes in and stands there awkwardly.

“Take a seat dude” I say.

He sits down on the bed next to me and holds out the pipe.

I consider it but decide not to go there.

“Nah. Thanks bud.”

He shrugs.

“Well you’re welcome anytime. And I really hope all’s well with you.”

I smile. I’m willing to bet $1,000 bucks that Benjamin is the most courteous, well-mannered, calm, thoughtful, well-read crackhead on the face of this earth.

“If there was a crackhead version of Jeopardy, I think you’d be the winner for at least 8 weeks in a row” I tell him with a giggle.

He laughs deeply and distinctly with his deep announcer voice as he tastes thoughts of fantasy.

“Hahaha why thank you kindly sir.”

He smokes his chemistry set as I watch the floor. Then we get up off the bed and come back out to the party which isn’t such a party anymore.

I reload the bong and roll another joint.

“We’re gonna go soon.” Katya says.

“Cool.” I lick the edge shut.

“We’re going to My House in Hollywood, do you wanna come?”

I seal the joint with the lighter.

“Nah. I’m exhausted. You guys have fun. But first…” I hand her the joint and the lighter.

She smiles. “Oh thanks!”

The joint makes its way around and I picture Ashley’s walk to her car. Her crying, getting lost, crying some more, turning around, finding the car, getting in, more crying. Hitting the steering wheel. Crying. Driving. Screaming. God how drunk and high was she? She seemed in control. She could definitely stay up in those heels from what I remember. Shit. Now there’s panic in addition to the guilt. Great.

The joint comes back to me. I pass it on through to Benjamin.

I’m done with this shit. All of it. Drugs. Women. Friends. People. All of it. I lean my cheek on my fist and close my eyes as I find the balance of my elbow on the armrest. Soon I’ll be lying in that bed with that cool Pacific breeze on my face. Not giving a fuck about any of them. Not him. Not her. Not the wetness from her dumb little eyes. Or from any of the others either. Soon the only sane person in the world will be me. And quite honestly, I just don’t think there’s any room for you here right now. Any of you. Maybe even Her. Yes, You. Wherever You are.

Ah. Or maybe I just shouldn’t be so honest anymore.

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