A New Way of Life
“La, la, la! La, la, la!” I wasn’t sure what song was playing on the radio, but Vera was lala-ing along with whatever it was…lala-ing with great intensity.
“Is this normal for her?” I whispered to Scéléra as we swerved to one side of the road and then back into our lane. We were now on the highway and no other cars were near to us, but it was still kind of frightening to nearly fly off of the road into a ditch. I could handle the impact, but if we crashed then the cops were sure to drag us back to hell.
“Is this normal for her? Yes. Is she sober? That’s highly unlikely. But if she is, now that wouldn’t be normal at all. We’ll be fine…probably…hopefully. She seemed to be more curious than afraid, but so was I. “Vera, darling, what have you partaken of tonight?”
“Bam, ba-bam! Damn, da-damn! Blam ba-…” At this point, Drake reached over the console and gave her a little poke. “Vera!” He shouted. “Pokey, pokey, jokey, jokey, tell our girl about the cokey.”
“Ya just did, ya scallywank!”
“Cocaine,” Scéléra whispered to me. No shit. I had never snootled it before, but I wasn’t stupid.
“Shall we share?” Drake asked.
“Blistering shingles, dragon man. You think I’ve got enough snow in my pockets to build you a Frosty the fuckin’ Snowman? Innncorrect!”
“The only things in your pockets are a wallet, a cell phone, and KY jelly,” he retorted.
“Warming touch, baby! Wham, wa-wham! Bam, ba-bam!” Vera declared while doing the pelvic thrust in the direction of the steering wheel.
“Are they together?” I asked Scéléra as all of the hilarity was taking place.
“Oh, no,” she replied. “Her amore is already where we’re going. He didn’t feel like coming out tonight. She said that he’s got a case of the stay-ins.”
“Sorry, lovelies! I’m a crazy bitch!” Vera smiled wildly. I wondered what her partner was like. I could only imagine him being as loopy Willy Wonka himself.
“Okay Drake! Yes! Fine! You may give them the teeny one that I almost finished, you Howdy Doodle Dandy!” I wasn’t quite sure what the ‘teeny one’ was, but I assumed we were about to sample some contraband. Drake leaned back in his seat and rummaged through his pockets. He eventually pulled out a bag the size of a quarter. Inside the little thing was a bit of snowy-white powder. Ah ha. He handed it back to Scélera
“Have fun, kiddos. I think that’s a quarter gram…maybe a little less now. It’s hardly cut, so it’s more than enough for a daring duo to try.”
“You’ve never done this before, have you?” Scélera asked me.
“Nope, I haven’t. I’ve never happened upon the opportunity.” If weed, weed, was the Devil’s seed, whose seed was this? This drug carried a larger penalty than weed did for getting caught with it, so of course it people thought it was ‘worse’… but whose seed was worse than the Devils? I supposed that the Pharisees, the people who were going to throw rocks at the woman at the well, Pontius Pilate, and certainly the policemen who dragged us pack to the hellish ‘Tranquility Acres’ all fell into this category. They didn’t even really understand why they were taking us back there. They were just doing what Pontius Pilate told them to do, like thoughtless zombie guards.
But it certainly wouldn’t be the seed of any of those parties, for they were who the horde loved. Hmm…who did the public think was worse than the Devil? Hell, I didn’t know. Ozzy Osbourne? Not anymore. But if Jesus was the one who was put to death by his society, maybe the hated ones were more like Jesus than anyone else. Maybe those who don’t give up their principles to avoid social stigmatization are like him the most.
Okay…worse than the devil in the eyes of the people…Al Capone? Maybe cocaine was Al Capone’s seed, or Aleister Crowley’s. Maybe even Ivan the Terrible would one day rise to that gloriously inglorious position. Regardless, Scéléra picked up a book off of the car floor and brought it up high enough for me to see. What the fuck? The Very Hungry Caterpillar. My god. Why?
“I like the lady in the front’s singing,” Anna said. She was seated near my feet.
“Poke, poke.” She tapped my legs with her fingers.
“Poke, poke.” Scéléra tapped my shoulder. “Are you okay? You went all spacey-faced there for a second.”
“I’m fine. I just have a weird thing about that book. I read it a long time ago, in a dark and disturbing land…” But was my childhood truly dark and disturbing? Everyone told me that it was, but did that make it a fact? I wasn’t sure.
“Well should I find something else? Your backpack wasn’t closed all the way. This was sticking out of the top, so I brought him along for the ride.” The green eyes stared into my soul once more.
“It’s fine, let’s use him. It’ll make my weird thing weirder. I like to see how weird my things can get. It’s one of my favorite hobbies.”
“You’re beautiful, you know? I like to listen to you say things.” She leaned closer to me and we gazed into each other’s eyes. Both pairs were the same shade of bright green. Coincidence? Probably, but it didn’t have to be a coincidence to us. The matching eye colors could be a sign that we should keep listening to each other say things. Was she going to kiss me? She was licking her lips, so the internet would say yes. Our faces got closer and closer until finally…what? My lips were level with her chin and she kissed my nose. Trickery! I loved trickery. The internet is sometimes wrong, but she still sort of kissed me.
“Hmph!” Anna wasn’t pleased. I felt sort of guilty, but part of me said that I didn’t need her to be pleased with me anymore.
“Trickery!” I said.
“You love trickery.” I loved mind reading too. “Ookie, so…” She laid the book on the console of the car. “…be really careful. We’re still moving. Wait a second.” We turned off of the highway and onto what seemed more like a street. There were a few other cars and some closed shops scattered around us. I wondered why most shops closed at night instead of during the day. I liked nighttime much more. But would I still like it more if everyone was awake? Probably not.
“Okay.” She took the little swirly-colored black and white bag and dumped all of the powder onto the bright green eyes of Mister Caterpillar. Was he hungry for cocaine? I was almost certain that that wasn’t what the author had in mind. She looked around a little bit as if she had lost something. “Vera!”
“Ding!” Vera answered. She instantly outstretched her arm in a robotic motion. Her hand now floated over Mister Caterpillar…Mister C.? No, that’s Santa Claus…in her hand was a credit card. Oh.
“Fantastic. You were ready already.” Scéléra took the card from Vera’s hand.
“Why of course, of course, of course of course of course!” The more times Vera said the word ‘course’ the funnier it sounded. Scéléra cut up the powder into two lines. “Ding! Ding!” Vera chirped, shooting out her hand as quickly as she had before. This time it was holding a dollar bill. Scéléra expertly rolled it up, stuck it in her nose, and snorted half of one of the lines. She switched nostrils before snooting up the rest of it.
“Shneef!” She exclaimed, staring at me with her eyes wide open. She passed the dollar bill to me. “Aahooga!” She yelled like a cartoon horn. I leaned over the powdered green eyes and did the same thing she had done. Half with one nostril, half with the other. Snoot, snoot. My nose was burning and the feeling in my mouth was numbing away. Then suddenly I became Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ.
“Jesus Christ! Shmowza!” I exclaimed.
“Shneef!” Scéléra replied.
Shneef!” I copied her. We shneefed it all up like a pair of vacuum cleaners.
“And this shit is uncut Colombian,” Drake said. I would later learn that all cocaine is ‘uncut Columbian’, whether it really is or not. We all seemed incredibly famous at the moment. We were celebrities cruising through a town that bowed at our feet to worship. The reason that the people had gone to sleep was so that they wouldn’t disturb us. We should be on TV. What other minors had already made it out of their entrapments? We had. We were badasses. We even had free blow.
I didn’t really know if I was still a minor or not. I didn’t know for certain. They came up with an age for me back in the children’s home. I hadn’t come with a birth certificate, and I had never been told when my birthday was. They probably didn’t guess it all the way down to the exact day. The image of M. holding me down and beating me flashed through my mind. If I could only encounter her now, she’d get her turn. She would be the one getting beaten.
“Wave to the people!” Scéléra cried as she began waving at nothing in particular, from behind a tinted window in the middle of the night. She was like a hyped-up younger Queen of England. She must have been feeling famous too. We turned again onto a different highway. Thonk! Caterpillar fell on the floor: the physics of a right turn!
“We’ll be there soon, brave passengers! We’re nearly to Lala Land! La, la, la!” Vera sung excitedly.
“I think I’m there already,” I replied. This time it was me who leaned over to kiss Scéléra. I wasn’t nervous at all, probably because of the cocaine I just shneefed. I deserved this. I was awesome. I’d kiss me. We actually kissed this time. It was amazing, but kind of hard to feel. Our kiss was the climax of a movie. She was perfect. I was perfect. The street we turned onto as it happened gave us an excellent game of ‘Can you Balance well enough to Kiss in a Turning Car?’ Apparently we couldn’t. Thonk! This road was much smaller than the highways. We had to be getting close. We randomly started giggling.
“La, la, la!” Scéléra sang.
“Ahaha! Scéléra, you’re singing my song! I’m frozen in your head now. I’ve been preserved!” Vera was right. “Beware…and welcome, welcome, one and all, to my mystic mansion of magnificent mystery!” We pulled into a little driveway and the car stopped in front of a rather small house. I already felt better than I had at home. One of the lights was on. Maybe someone inside was awake. We would soon see.
“For you, missure.” Scéléra handed me the caterpillar book with much grandeur.
“Can you read it to me, Tristan?” Anna wanted me to recite it to her, but I didn’t… not this time. I didn’t really want to.
“Pow!” Vera squealed. She pushed a button and made the trunk of the car fling open. Clunk. We got our things and walked up to the door.
“I think Mal is asleep, but I’m not sure. He might’ve just been busy tonight. He’s busy many nights, you see. Okay, young vagrant wanderers! Welcome to fuckin’ Narnia!” She opened the door and there he was, sitting in front of the TV. Mal was about my height: six feet. He had longish dark green hair that fell down to his shoulders. Underneath a black light Mal and Scéléra would have made a blue-green neon hair lightshow.
His skin tone was quite light and bright red double-zero gauges were stuck in his ears. They looked grand, but combined with his green hair they made me think of Christmas. I’d be sure not to mention that. He had brown eyes and wore a blue kimono that had carefully stitched golden dragons embroidered into it. He was watching some sort of documentary on a forty-inch flat screen TV and smoking out of a shiny clear glass bong.
I looked over to my left, and for the first time saw Vera in the light. Her hair was about the same length as his, but very curly. It was the whitest shade of white I had ever seen! She was wearing purple contacts, red slippers that glittered just like Dorothy’s, a loose-fitting purple dress and was just as pale as I was. A large silver septum piercing hung from her nose. I thought it was a nice touch…hmm…maybe Scéléra should get one too.
“We’re here! Roll out the red carpet, baby!” Vera announced our magnificent arrival. Mal stopped what he was doing and stood up.
“Ah, a brave new soul has come to the castle. Welcome, sirrah. I hear that you call yourself Ivan the Terrible, eh? I like it. I’m Malevolent Mal, nice to meet you.” On the back wall of the living room was a large portrait of Scarface sitting in his chair with the liquor on the table. Next to that was some kind of purple painted symbol I had never seen before. It looked like a rune, maybe a sigil, or something like that. It’s squiggly zig zags and twists and turns were certainly intriguing.
“Good morning. I’m Ivan. Malevolent, hmm? I like that too.”
“All of you are pretty coked up, aren’t you? Not that I care,” he said while looking at me. “I was too until about half an hour ago.”
“Yes, yes, what a marvelous guess!” I didn’t think the guess was really all that marvelous, considering how obvious Vera was making it. “Now I’m showing them to their new room! La, la, la!”
“Oh god.” Mal laughed underneath his breath. “Okay. I’ll be in here.” He walked over to the kitchen and Drake followed him while Vera escorted us down the hallway to the house’s spare room.
“Oh! Oh! I’m sorry, lovelies. We’ve only got one spare room! I guess you’ll have to share,” she said playfully. “You’ll soon be covered in the cooties!”
“But Vera!” I sarcastically protested. “A girl and a boy sleeping…together? The atrocity! The impurity! We’re not even wed! The Lord will surely disapprove!”
“Love,” she laughed. “The Lord has disapproved of me since elementary school, so I’m told. But often times when you’re told something it isn’t true. I say embrace the id! Embrace your ids! ‘Didn’t’ is regretted more than ‘did’! Live! Embrace your desires! Experience existence or die trying.
“The universe is billions of years old and you probably won’t even be here for a hundred years of it. Don’t go to the culture for your answers! That is pathetic. Go to your hearts! Spread around some cooties! Anyway, the room is yours. Chunk your shit wherever you’d like your shit to be chunked. I’m going to go and follow my heart. Mal! Let’s embrace the id!” She then ran back down the hallway and into the kitchen to join Drake and Malevolent Mal. I wondered what they were doing in there.
“I wonder what they’re doing in there,” I mentioned to Scéléra.
“What are you doing, Charona the Ferress?” She called out.
“Oh! I’m trying to feel the earth as it spins!” A delightful idea! I decided to follow suit. I could feel it, sixty-thousand miles per hour. Scéléra was doing it too. We chunked our shit in the corner of the room for now. We would take things out and rearrange them later. There wasn’t a bed, but Vera had taken the time to blow up an air mattress for us. Damn, that was nice of her.
“You know what would be fun?” I had something in mind. “We could go in there and ‘see what they’re doing’, then come back here and ‘go to sleep’.”
“Oh yes, I agree. Let’s go then.” When we walked into the kitchen Mal was just finishing a line of coke.
“Shlapshtacking wammarjams!” He shouted. “Sorry kids, there’s not enough left to share.” I didn’t really mind, though I was sure that there was. I was ready to slow down for the night. Apparently Scéléra was feeling the same way.
“Oh, no. I’m okay on that, your Malevolence. I’d just like to relax now.”
“Ah ha. Then I shall answer your almost-question with a yes. You may smoke the bong.” She had asked in her subtle alluring way. Satisfied, she made Mal a hand-heart and we zoomed into the living room. The bong hit a lot harder than the pipe at the abandoned school had. I was done after sucking all of the smoke out of it three times. I coughed so much that I thought I might cough up my lungs and a few other random organs, but no such things flew out of me. Hooray! I got to keep them for another day.
“Come, come, Love. Let’s float off to bed.”
“Come, come? Or come cum?” I tried very hard to make my meaning clear since ‘come cum’ sounded just like the other phrase. I’m sure I sounded like a drunken pedophile, but I didn’t care.
“I’ll leave that up to you.” She stuck her tongue out at me. It was a splendiferous response. “Goodnight all! “Goodnight moon! Goodnight cow jumping over the moon!”’ Somehow her saying this led me back to Sir Caterpillar in my brain. It was probably because of the childhood quality of the thing.
“Night, night, na-night, night-night, crazies! Clean up your cooties after you get them everywhere, would you?”
“Of course, of course, of course of course of course,” Scéléra replied. Suddenly we were back in the room. I liked the mattress. It seemed rather boingy.
“Ahh!” She yelled, though not very loudly. “I’m in a room with Ivan the Terrible! The terrible terror!” I couldn’t help but laugh even though I felt that my reaction was supposed to be sexier. “So tired…” she said. She took off her checkerboard T-shirt, her sneakers, socks, and bright blue pants. They matched her hair. She was wearing only a black bra with black boy shorts now. Damn, da-damn. Sexy responses were all I had now. It had been dark when we were alone the night after the party. It wasn’t so dark now. I was glad.
“You can’t sleep in that shit,” she said while pointing at my clothes. “You don’t get to gawk at me unless I get to gawk back. Quid pro quo, mister.” My shirt and pants became a black pile in the corner. “Good! Okay, time for bed! Goodnight.” I almost laughed…no. No laughing. I wasn’t supposed to laugh. Should I talk in a different voice? Would that be too much? Maybe, but the fact was that she just told a lie. It wasn’t time for bed. I crawled across the mattress as she peeked up from her spot. Her face had been pseudo-shyly buried in a pillow. She quickly slammed it back into the fluff again.
“I saw that, you know.” No reply. I grabbed her sides and flipped her over so that she was looking up at me.
“That tickles, you meanie bastard face!” I guessed that I really was a meanie bastard face, but being one was too much fun. She popped her head up to kiss me, then I followed her back down to the mattress. I wouldn’t let her go back into hiding. She didn’t want me to. We stayed there for a moment before she licked my cheek and pulled away. “Fuck!” She kind of yelled.
“Fuck! Fuck!” Was she angry, or was that a request? I couldn’t tell. She knew that. She liked it. “I guess I’ll answer your question.”
“What?” Was she reading my mind again? Soon I would see.
“Yes, that one. Our clothes are over there. I might be angry, or I might be telling you what I want to happen. You’re wondering which it is. I like that quite a lot.” Damn. “Am I right?”
“Then which do you think it is?”
“You don’t look angry.”
“I’m not.” Within a matter of seconds, our ‘cooties were spreading’, as Vera glamorously said. At least we were clean, so none of the cooties were bad ones. I was the predator, she was the prey. Her eyes rolled back into her head as I slipped inside her. Sex while stoned was like an orgasm on a cloud…we were floating yet we were lying down, speeding up. I pulled her into me harder and pulled her hair almost hard enough to rip some of it out. She wasn’t able to keep quiet, and apparently we were pretty noticeable. Someone soon came along to comment on our activities.
“Yeah! Wham, wa-wham! Bam, ba-bam!” It was Vera, right on the other side of our door, but it didn’t really matter. She knew what sex was. And she was right. Mt. Vesuvius exploded, we got our cooties everywhere. It was time for a ten-second tidy.
“Okay, now I really do want to go to sleep. It’s your fault, damn it! Your fault for making me tired! I’m totally pooped.”
“Why doesn’t ‘totally shitted’ mean the same thing?” I asked, perhaps before thinking.
“I don’t know, nasty ass. It does if you want it to, right?”
“That’s a good point.” I sat up, turned out the light and lied back down. She came closer and I pulled her in so that we were lying against each other. She was warm, and I was happy. I always hated sleeping alone.
“What’s on your mind, love?”
“Thinking about allegories…you know, like metaphors.”
“Meanie bastard face, I know what an allegory is.”
“Sorry. Anyway, I’m wondering if allegories can be found in everything. I think they can.”
“What allegories are you thinking of now?”
“None right now…I just wonder if they can be found in everything. What do you think?”
“Yes, of course. But I also think that at some point, finding allegories in everything might turn into schizophrenia. If someone sneaks up on you and you decide it’s an allegory for how aliens are going to sneak up on you and suck out your brain through a straw, then maybe it’s time to talk to someone.” Ha! She was probably right.
“You’re probably right,” I said with a smile.
“Goodnight, Sir Terrible. Come follow me into a dream.” My eyes closed… “Come on, sleepy!” She called to me from a world quite unlike everyday consciousness. She was lost in the wasteland of a dream…one that I soon joined.