by Peter Dudley
I’m tired. I look at my skinny, motionless fingers in my lap, the black nail polish. The quivering is only in my mind. Orlando knows about the shakes. He still gets them sometimes, and the desperate sweats, too. “It’s like running up the down escalator, Dicey,” he said. “You can’t ever stop.” Cigarettes help, but never enough. He would want me to call.
I shouldn’t be here, sitting with this old Trader Joe’s bag lady waiting for the number 52. My skin prickles, billions of tiny needles, with every thump of my heart. The 52 is late as always. Just like a year ago when Shade picked me up and took me to that party where I got high for the first time. Shade calls me a lot these days, but I don’t answer even though I want to.
Shade’s black Acura slithers up, its thumping music driving my pulse. The window slides down. “Hey Dicey.” Flash of pearls and gold in his smile. “Hop in, girl.”
I stand and take one step, dizzy in desire and need. The door swings out, opened by someone inside, unseen. A promise of painless bliss entices me, but I know Hell awaits. I glance at the bag lady. Her shriveled pomegranate face looks tired, and scared.
I step back up on the curb and shake my head. “Two months sober, Shade.” My steady fingers dial Orlando as I start climbing that escalator again.