CandyFlip Chapter 26
Off 39th Street there is a bar named after a certain outlaw skydiver. The place doesn’t look like a place of business from the outside. It has no windows only a door. When I open the door it allows the sun to strike several patrons before I can close it, this causes a brief, yet, audible groan. Inside it is dark and very air-conditioned. The bar is flanked by a pool table on one end and darts in the opposite. About twenty people occupy a variety of tables and booths in-between while a few more sit at the bar. Several men wearing the uniform of a nearby machine shop are using the pool table while the dartboards remain abandoned. No matter your profession or lack of, this is the midnight shift happy hour joint. Two types of people come to a bar at six O’ clock in the morning. One has been up all night and the other has set his alarm clock to make it. Either way you have the crème de la crème of the alcoholics and junkies. A sign above the bar reads, “Welcome to D.B. Coopers.”
I find my way to the bar as the jedi of all bartenders, Tommy, greets me with three shots and a, “Good morning David.”
“Yes, it is.”
“What does the girl want to drink?” Of course remembering what customers drink and their names are the first two rules of all successful bartenders but Tommy became the jedi of all bartenders because he serves the most demanding of all crowds, this one. He not only is capable of making any type of drink as well as finding any drugs but also has been known to perform life saving techniques without the hassle of insurance or the police.
The rumor is that Tommy dropped out of med school to be a junky but Mark argues that he just must watch a lot of ER. (Mark thinks you can learn everything you need to know during prime time television.) Anyhow he became a legend in these circles when he plunged a needle full of steroids into the chest cavity of ‘Little’ Bob, a resident 300+ pound junky, after he stopped breathing during a ten-day cocaine binge, thus saving his life. Story has it that ‘Little’ Bob was up ten minutes later using the same needle to shoot heroin. I think Tommy made that needle up for him also.
“Three beers.” I decide to start slow.
“Out of Michelob.”
He returns with the beers and a tray for the shots. I then make it over to Mark and Mindy who have found a corner couch next to the jukebox.
“To the end of the world.” Mark makes a toast.
A clank of glasses then we each down our shots. A possible biker type man (or maybe he just likes leather in the morning?), who has found the walk over to us a bit of a challenge, challenges Mark to a game of darts. Although I don’t feel comfortable with Mark throwing anything sharp I don’t stop him. Instead I decide to enjoy the reduction of the people between Mindy and I.
“How do you do this everyday?” She asks.
“Are you not having a good time?” I reply.
“Of course, but, I don’t understand how you can do this everyday. What kind of life is this?” She smiles a little bit more than a grin.
“It’s the life I made. There are moments when I remember that I want it to stop. But those moments fly past me then I am high, again, and I do like to be high. I know that there are options but the hole keeps getting deeper for me.”
“So, meanwhile, you’re hoping that your life will just change on its own while your busy getting high? That’s bullshit.”
“Why are you doing this? I don’t want to do this right now.”
“I am not trying to ruin everything if that is what you mean but it’s obvious that you’re not happy. Sure, you smile all the time. But you don’t have to be happy to smile. You and Mark keep really busy and I’m sure that helps but when do you ever just slow down and smell the roses?”
How can you smell anything at all with your nose bleeding all the time?
With this she collects our empty beer bottles and heads to the bar. After a brief exchange with the bartender she returns with fresh beers and a smile. It’s the Mary Tyler Moore / Marilyn Monroe thing again.
“Why the smile?”
“The bartender tells me that I am the most beautiful woman to ever enter this den.”
She is, but I am still a bit upset by her attack, so I offer that, “He tells that to every girl.” I take a triumphant guzzle of said beer.
“So, how is his lie any better than yours?” Not missing a beat.
“When have I lied to you?” I should have changed the subject when I could have. I should have changed the subject when I could have. I should have changed the subject when I could have. I should have changed the subject when I could have.
“Monday night, when you told me that you love me.” She does smile at this point although I don’t understand why, yet.
“I don’t remember saying that but what makes you think it was a lie?” I hope this is a flirt.
She replies, “It’s obvious that nothing means much to you other than all of this. You can’t love anyone unless you love yourself.” Same smile but less grin.
“That’s all bullshit. I hate those feel good catch phrases, as if love is only possible your way, or how you can understand it, on your terms.” I need a line, drink, etc..
“Now hate, hate, you may know something about. Why do you hate yourself so much?”
“How can you say something like that? You don’t know me. You have no idea what I have been through.”
“Does it matter what got you here?”
“Why are you here? What the fuck reason do you have to be getting high with people you don’t know, you have no idea the risks you are taking, right now, do you?” I am angry but it’s not a mad angry because you just cannot get too mad on this many pills. Truth is, even right now, in the middle of this crap, I wouldn’t hurt a fly; unless of course it was some sort of ‘fly-plot’ to steal my pills then I would slaughter those winged bastards.
“Why are you so angry?” She asks.
I decide not to answer this because we are chasing the same squirrel around the same tree. Neither of us sure if it is the squirrel, or us, that is actually moving. I do appreciate what she is trying to do but there is only room for one all- knowing at this table and I have dibs. Instead I focus on the bonding between Mark and the other, yet to be named person, as they laugh and throw darts.
“He seems to have found a friend.” I offer.
She accepts with, “So have you.” Then she leans forward with a kiss. The kiss is on the lips but not in the lips. It is quick, vague, and wonderful. Then she is standing, glowing, floating towards and then into- the bathroom.
I sit alone for forty-four seconds before finding a tug. A tug reminding me that this shouldn’t happen. I shouldn’t be kissing another girl. I do not want to kiss another girl. I must not kiss any other girls. The tug then instructs me to then obtain a vial of powder from my pocket and snort, which I do, while sitting at the table. The tug is The Girl. I love The Girl. There is no doubting that but I cannot involve myself with Her because I will destroy Her world (or is it that She may destroy mine?) I would drag her down with me. I have done so before with others. So, I may love Her, but not have Her. (See also: have your cake and eat it too.)
Did I really tell Mindy that I love her? Probably did. But I am apt to tell the guy pumping gas next to me the same thing. You just never know where the pills may take you. Under the influence of these pills you do not fall in love but rather you love to fall in love. Love becomes a verb rather than a noun. It is the experience that becomes addictive. The excitement of the roller coaster lays in the movement not the structure. Love is much more than the experience but I haven’t been able to stop the ride long enough to make any foundations. The Girl has been kept afloat with ideas rather than substance. Promises to change are bountiful for the addict. The junky doesn’t make promises.
The Girl remains my last tether before I float on into a junky. It seems to bring me back to wanting to change. But I know that I will not change for anyone but myself. The problem is that I don’t really give a damn.
Mindy comes back from the bathroom. She sits. I am finishing my beer when she begins again.
“Who is The Girl?”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“Doesn’t matter to whom?”
“It doesn’t matter right now.”
“When does She matter to you?”
“I am not going to do this with you anymore.”
She laughs, then predictably, “I love you too.”
“I was drunk when I told you that.” It is a well-known fact that emotional statements said during a binge do not carry a warranty.
“I’m drunk now.” Touché.
Mindy doesn’t understand The Girl and I cannot translate that to her right now, maybe never. Most of The Girl is just an idea but someone does occupy that position right now.
Mark arrives back at the table claiming victory. I am more impressed by his lack of injuries. (Giving intoxicated people sticks and/or pointed objects to THROW, just doesn’t make sense, even right now. I suppose indoor javelin toss is next.)
“Candy Flip?” He asks.
“Yes” we reply.
Mark is all teeth as he produces three small pieces of paper each about the size of a dime with blue peace signs. We all three stare at each other for quick cat-n-the-canary looks, and then we place the paper into our mouths. I quickly wash the bitter taste down with my beer. Mark does the same. Mindy looks confused as she points to the paper still upon her tongue. (She has a great tongue.)
“Swallow it.” Simon says.
She swallows, then replies, “I thought it worked quicker that way?”
“We are not in a hurry.”
This reminds me so I ask, “How much do we have left?”
“Enough for us but we will have a lot of bored suburban hippies soon. Call her.” Mark replies.
I give a nod and make a mental note to call Susie between chapters. I only take mental notes (Prison lesson 515), not actual notes, nothing gets written down except this book and it’s fiction anyhow, right?
The acid hits Mark first, or maybe he’s been on it all along and I just tuned into his station. After all, he did have the acid. He is staring at me attempting communication through a series of facial movemements, or perhaps he has an itch, or still further maybe the acid has hit me first.
“Candy?” A request is made.
I distribute a pill to each of us and we ingest. A grin is shared between us as we await this hallucination ménage.
The candy flip is the end of the century speed ball- Belushi chose heroin and cocaine but now its ecstasy and LSD. One the candy and the other the flip. It’s doing acid with an automatic pilot, only the nice trips. It’s Willy Wonka madness. EZ chair insanity.
And so we are staring at each other. Obvious that we each know not how we found this shared silence. It’s comfortable but unnecessary. No reason to talk but nothing could go wrong if we did. Someone could suggest to us almost anything and we would find it most entertaining, an Etcha-A-Sketch would be the bomb diggity right about now. (So just imagine how good Mindy looks to us.)
I stare at Mindy.
Mark stares at Mindy.
I hear her laughing. She smiles. I turn to find my best friend in a near drool. Both of us always one look from lust.
“We love you.” We chime.
“I love you boys too.”
Somewhere after that Mark interrupts me from describing the merits of casual sex with, “I’m hungry.”
“Cereal?” I agree.
Mark gives a sincere nod of affirmation as Mindy seems to ponder the consideration of Raisin Bran versus Wheaties to herself. I prepare small amounts of Ketamine in front of each of us as she gives a doubtful look to Mark.
“Special K.” He informs with schoolboy grin.
Mindy opens her mouth in protest as Mark and I snort our piles.
“You two have a problem.”
“Yes we do.”
“Is there ever enough?” She pleads.
“We are capitalists.”
She sweeps her pile onto the floor which makes us both giggle, (she is learning) – She stands up looking a happier shade than irritated.
“I have to go now.”
Later, Mark will say that the acid was all my bad idea.