Jimmy wandered down the street, very conscious of his stride, worried that it seemed like he was in a hurry or up to something. His jeans were well-fit and clean, his button up shirt was pressed and tucked in, but he couldn’t hide his anxiety under his clothes, and he felt his mannerisms screamed “junkie”. It had been too long since he had last indulged, and he was getting antsy.
Were he to roll up his sleeves, one could see the scars on his arms, the relics of his addiction, ghosts of past hits. They were telling, so he almost always wore long sleeves, not wanting people to know about his predilection. They always asked so many questions when they found out. He didn’t want that. He didn’t want to stop, it was the only thrill that he could find anymore. Nothing made him feel more alive than when he was giving in to his vice, no matter the damage it did to his body.
There were only a few people who dealt in what he needed, and his most recent source no longer wanted anything to do with it. It was too dangerous, Kevin had protested, to Jimmy’s dismay. Giving Jimmy his fix was becoming too much of a liability. Kevin was worried about getting caught and getting put away, so Jimmy had to find someone new. It was just as well, Jimmy thought. It wasn’t as good from Kevin anymore, maybe someone new would be able to hook him up with the good stuff, the real stuff.
He had heard about someone from his friend Sarah who might be able to help him out, a guy by the name of AJ. He was supposed to be dangerous, but Jimmy knew that was for the best. The more dangerous, the better. Jimmy had the money, and hopefully that would be enough for AJ.
He made his way up to AJ’s place, which was a nice two-story house in a suburban neighborhood. The fences in the back were tall, which Jimmy liked, as he made his way up the walkway. He rang the doorbell and waited. He looked around the neighborhood, not seeing many people out and about, nor any cars on the street, but each house had a garage with the door closed, so people were probably at work or the car was closed up tight. Jimmy liked that, he felt like their liaison would remain a secret. It was only a moment longer before the door opened.
Jimmy turned and faced a large red-haired man with an unhappy expression, towering over him. He wore a tight t-shirt, his veiny arms bulging through, a can of beer in his hand. The man looked Jimmy up and down before waving him in. Jimmy quickly stepped past him through the threshold.
“So you’re Jimmy, huh?” asked the man. “Sarah called and said you’d be coming. Nice girl, Sarah. Understanding girl.”
“Yeah, she’s great,” Jimmy said, nervously. “She gets it, you know?”
“Oh, I know,” the man replied. “And she told me everything that you want. I’m AJ, but you already knew that.” Jimmy nodded. “You’ve got the money, then?” Jimmy nodded again and handed him a wad of cash.
“It’s all there,” Jimmy said as AJ counted.
“And then some,” replied AJ, his eyebrows raised in surprise and a smile creeping across his face. “You’re paying this kind of cash, you get the upstairs treatment. Is that what you want?” Jimmy nodded, suddenly a little shy.
“Are you sure?” asked AJ. “Going upstairs isn’t something that just anyone can handle. I’m not exactly gentle.”
“I don’t want you to be,” replied Jimmy.
“Well all right then,” AJ said, handing him the leather gloves and mask, which Jimmy put on. AJ then turned and led him upstairs. “Right this way.”
Jimmy followed him, feeling strange butterflies in his stomach that he hadn’t felt in a long time. He wondered if AJ’s stuff would be different, would be scary, and the prospect made the butterflies flutter even more. Kevin’s hits had gotten boring, predictable, stale, and Jimmy needed something with a little more “umph.”
“Last chance to back out,” said AJ, over his shoulder as they entered a bedroom. It was a beautiful bedroom with a large bed and a massive window overlooking the backyard.
“No, no, I’m in,” said Jimmy.
AJ turned in the blink of an eye and slammed his fist into Jimmy’s stomach. Jimmy doubled over, the breath immediately knocked from him. He felt AJ’s strong hands grab his shoulders and pull him upright before punching him in the gut again. Jimmy coughed and coughed, groaning in pain as he felt AJ pull him back up.
“You sick son of a bitch!” AJ said to him as he grabbed Jimmy by the shoulders and hurled him against the glass. The glass shattered and Jimmy felt himself flying through the air.
It was glorious.
He could feel the wind rushing by his ears as a million particles of glass danced in the air with him. It would bounce off of him, some would cut into him, and all of them were sparkling in the sky like diamonds as he plummeted towards the ground. He could feel his body falling, all his limbs and organs unsure which way is up and he relished the sickened feeling he got. He submerged himself into all the sensations, somehow recognizing each one in a heartbeat and appreciating each one as though it were happening for a thousand years.
And just like that, it was over. He felt his body crash into the ground, the “tinkle tinkle” of the glass landing all around him. He kept his eyes closed, both relishing the moment and waiting for dangerous shards to stop falling. When he finally dared to open them again, he saw AJ leaning out of the window looking down upon him.
“Y’all right?” called AJ. Jimmy grinned behind the protective mask and nodded. “Was that all right, then?”
“That was perfect,” Jimmy answered, his breath haggard. He knew that this addiction would kill him one day, but he had never felt so alive.