Meeting The Devil
said, jumping the fence, leaving the rattled sound chiming across the
courtyard. I followed, stiff as a log and made him wait inpatient as I landed
carefully on my two feet, like a cat that knew it was closing in on using up
all nine lives.”
“Through here. Don’t make a sound.”
A hole in the wall, probably caused by a drunken driver or reckless demolition worker served us as a way in. Instantly, the distant flames from several old garbage barrels being used as a source of heat found its way to my eyes. It was fairly dark, but the cold of the winter where left on the outside.
“We occupy all three stories, he said. “Cops don’t bother us here, they rarely enter this part of town. And since we are not too close to the harbor area, we don’t have to pay taxes to the drug lords either.”
The small and fragile looking kid smiled at me, missing one of the front teeth and several of the ones on the first floor. I felt the nagging in my arm and the cold sweat all over my back, neck, even down my trousers in the crack of my ass. It was more than by-fucking-time.
“Where can I shoot up?” My voice a little louder than his. He didn’t seem to notice.
I followed him past two other junkies, sleeping head to head in front of a burning barrel. The floor was concrete, but mostly we walked on carved up woodwork that used to be the ceiling. A brief laughter followed by a distinctive sulking where heard from somewhere within the shadows. I instantly stopped.
“It’s just poor old Maggie, the kid prompted. She’s gone crazy. We let her stay as long as she doesn’t bother anyone. Sometimes she laughs, sometimes she cries over her murdered daughters. They used to work the docks until some guy decided they were better off carved to pieces and fed to the fishes.”
I didn’t answer. Mostly, because I didn’t give a fuck about crazy Maggie nor her two crack head whores. I just wanted to shoot up and relieve myself of the upcoming agony that were pressing on. Inside a doorless room the kid showed me a dirty mattress in a warm corner next to one of the burning barrels. The fire was almost out, but the heat would stay in the room for another hour, maybe two. With my twenty years as a drug addict, I could literally cook up in a getaway car or shoot up while base jumping off a cliff. The dim light and soiled mattress did, in other words, not bother me one single bit. Being a junkie is funny that way, you don’t care about anything or anyone, yourself included.
The kid watched eagerly as I cooked up using my old, favorite spoon. The chemical smell filled the room, and for a moment I was afraid it would attract voulchers from around the building. Nobody came. My needle where used before, but only by me. I took one shoe off. The kid moved two steps away immediately.
The kid held his tiny nose with one hand and sparked a fire in his lighter with the other. I spread my toes with the needle in my mouth, like a pirate with his knife ready to jump a merchant ship. I was ready to border neverland where the kid, annoying crazy Maggie and her two dead whores for daughters where long gone.
Finally I struck gold. The second after I could lay myself down on the mattress, feeling nothing but freedom pumping through my veins.
“You are a crazy fucker.”
The kid looked exited, having watched an older man shooting up between his smelly toes. I lifted my head and gave him a satisfied, crooked smile for answer. The kid lit up a cigarette and asked me if I wanted one. I accepted, he fired it up and stuffed it in my mouth as he sat down next to me.
And then, everything went to shit. First, old Maggie screamed from down the hall. Not a crazy scream, but a scream that came from a primal, desperate part of her brain that had alarmed her of immediate and utter danger. The kid stood up, looking down the hall with glazed eyes that tried to pierce trough the darkness. The sound of footsteps followed Maggie’s scream, and they were coming our way. In my haze I stumbled up and tried to stand straight and tall, manning me up for whatever was coming towards us. Into the room a junkie came running, stumbling on the half-lid barrel and grabbed the kid by his sleeves.
“I need your fucking help, he’s coming, he’s coming for me!”
The kid tried to brush him off as a bug, the pale junkie fall to his knees still holding desperately on to the kids sleeves, as if they represented life itself.
“Get the fuck off me! I don’t want your problems man!”
From the light of the barrel I could see that the junkie was bleeding from behind his right ear. My eyesight shifted from the blood to the kid and to the doorway again, as the devil manifested in front of me. A brutal scar dominated the entire left side of his face, darkness covering the other half. In his right hand, his silver revolver hung, so long that it reached below his knee. As the drugs practically where drained from my body as I was looking at him, my legs lost all blood pressure and I fell back down on the dirty mattress, hoping it would swallow me. A noise left the junkies lungs, and even though I never heard that noise before I knew this was the noise of someone so scared that something inside of him was about to shut down.
Then, without entering the room, the scarred devil spoke.
“Leave the kid alone. This is between you and me.”
For a moment I was thrilled, because I knew he was not talking to me. But then he took one step inside and the chilling fear gripped my heart again and threatened to burst it. The junkie crapped himself loudly as the devil grabbed him by his collar and pulled him off the kid. The sharp smell of liquid shit filled the room, but either of us dared even to think about throwing up.
“Like selling drugs to kids, eh?” The devil said. The junkie was shaking his head from side to side, so fast I was surprised the skinny neck could take it.
“No, no, no, they asked me for it, but I declined, I said I don’t sell drugs, and never to kids…”
“Shut the fuck up. We are going down town.”
His head was shaking rapidly again.
“No, I can’t! This is my second offence, you take me in and they give me ten years for sure, they will kill me in prison man!”“They won’t kill you. A skinny bitch like yourself, you would be kept as a pet.” The devil looked at me and smiled, the most evil and sadistic type of smile I had ever seen. I shifted my eyes away from him. “Relax, he said. “I’m not here for you two faggots today.”
I welcomed his words but didn’t believe him. He looked at the drug selling junkie again. “So, you don’t want to be somebody’s bitch in prison?”
“No, no, please no.”
“Thats all right; you don’t have to go to jail. I don’t need to take you in.”
“Really? You really mean that Sir? The junkie’s eyes lit up as a Christmas tree.
“Off course,” the devil responded. “ I have another way of getting your piece of shit face off the streets.
The silver revolver came up. From point blank the devil fired, blasting a hole in the junkie’s stomach at the size of a football. It felt like someone had just rung the city’s old cracked church bell inside my head. The junkie’s intestines were spread on the wall behind him, on the floor, the roof and some across the kids face. The devil tucked away his doomsday silver gun and looked at me and the kid, as we could literally hear life fade away from the blood covered pile of junkie in the corner.
“This building is not yours anymore. I am torching it. If you don’t want to be burned alive, get out now.”
We rushed out while the scarred devil started to flood the walls with gasoline, which he found around on the old shelves in the building. Fifteen minutes later the kid and I were watching the building burn, listening to the dying screams of old Maggie being reunited with her whores for daughters mixed with the sounds of alarming fire trucks arriving hopelessly late.
“Looks like we dodged a bullet there,” the kid said. What a sick psycho!”
“He’s not sick,” I replied. “He used to be a cop, until the city forced him to be something else. “
The kid looked at me in surprise.
“You can be a corrupt governor, a junkie, a drug lord, a soldier in a street gang, a cop, a trophy wife in the suburb, a cat living in the alleyways or a hard working businessman; this city will take whatever humanity you once had and turn it against you. “
I inhaled the cold December air.
“I hope he burns himself to hell.” The kid said, tougher now as the devil was no longer in our presence.
“That wouldn’t help anyway,” I replied.
“You cant kill a man that has hell on his side.”