Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Fanfic: Sherlock Holmes and the Blank Generation pt 2

The next day I awoke to the sound of Doug shrieking… as well as some sort of slamming sound. It was a rather funny sound, his anguished cries. He sounded like a monkey or perhaps a rare tropical bird. If Douglas weren't my only friend I would've laughed. What a sound! I felt so at home. My brooding and nightmares and coldness were far less frightening than this. For the first time since returning from the war I wasn't the weirdest person in site.
"Fucking matches! Ohhh shhit, that hurt! Fuck! Ow!" Doug screamed.
Groggily, I finally opened my eyes. Doug was jumping up and down, while obsessively rubbing his right thumb and screaming random obscenities. The "slamming" I'd heard was the sound of his sneakers hitting the poor, unsuspecting floorboards. It occured to me that they were the same beat-up Converse shoes he's been wearing the day before. Also like yesterday, he had on a pair of skinny jeans. I've never seen someone move around that much - and in such panic - in pants so tight. It was astounding. He also wore a short-sleeved tee shirt with the amusing words "villain, I have done thy mother" printed on them. As he flailed foolishly, I noticed that the veins on his arms were scarred. Heroin, I thought. Perhaps it wasn't wise to trust the first person you met someplace, no matter how kind.
"What's happened?" I asked, slowly moving to a sitting position.
"Matches. I burned my fucking finger!" Doug replied, in agony.
I furrowed my brow. "What do you need matches for, anyhow? The sunlight is already-"
"I need fire to cook up," he said, sharply.
"Cook up what? Breakfast?"
A look of great surprise appeared on Doug's face, replacing the look of (somewhat exaggerated) pain. He stopped jumping and stared at me in wonder.
"Oh my God. You're so innocent. I love you."
I wasn't quite sure how to respond, so I stared at him vaguely. He stared back at me in amusement.
"You are a very green boy." He paused, then said: "Heroin. Smack. Horse. Junk. Skag, if you're a Brit. Cooking up is putting some in a spoon with saline, heating it, and then sucking it up with the needle. It's then injecting right in your arm. Whaaat, you've never met a junkie?"
"I have, though I pretended they weren't human," I told him without thinking. Then, I blushed.
"That's a mean thing to do," he replied, frowning.
Now I felt rather bad. "Look, Doug… I don't have anything against drug users. It's just that, when I was fighting in Vietnam, people died everyday. I had to think of my fellow soldiers as inhuman. If I treated them like humans I wouldn't have been able to deal with what was going on. The grief would've driven me insane. It didn't matter if those men were druggies, squares, blacks, whites, Jews, catholics, or anything. My ability to care about anyone had to be shut off."
Doug still looked a bit puzzled. Still, he managed to reply: "I understand, boy."
An awkward silence ensued.
Finally, I realized something. "You said I could stay here for a little while, yes?"
My new friend nodded. "I did."
"How soon is a while? When will you decide to, well, kick me out?"
"Whenever you want me to," he replied with a shrug.
"Well, I don't ever want to sleep on that sofa again," I said thoughtfully. "Can you help me find a hotel or something today?"
A wicked smile appeared on Doug's boyish face. "If you can help me prepare my morning fix."
And so, I helped him light two of the candles ("in case one goes out"). Then I watched him melt a bit of powder on a charred spoon and, with his trusty syringe, suck it through a stretched-out cotton ball. After poking around for a vein, he proceeded to inject the milky mixture. I'll never understand why people use narcotics. It's horrifying. Of course, he seemed to find it soothing. With a blissful, spaced-out smile on his face he collapsed into one of the chairs. As he did so I blew out the two candles.
For a moment he sat there struggling to breathe properly. I would've tried to help somehow if he didn't seem so nonchalant. It seemed that this breathlessness was
Finally, he spoke. "There's a newspaper… by the door. Many… people post ads… in the classifieds. There's always someone looking for a roommate."
An awkward silence ensued.
Finally, I realized something. "You said I could stay here for a little while, yes?"
My new friend nodded. "I did."
"How soon is a while? When will you decide to, well, kick me out?"
"Whenever you want me to," he replied with a shrug.
"Well, I don't ever want to sleep on that sofa again," I said thoughtfully. "Can you help me find a hotel or something today?"
A wicked smile appeared on Doug's boyish face. "If you can help me prepare my morning fix."
And so, I helped him light two of the candles ("in case one goes out"). Then I watched him melt a bit of powder on a charred spoon and, with his trusty syringe, suck it through a stretched-out cotton ball. After poking around for a vein, he proceeded to inject the milky mixture. I'll never understand why people use narcotics. It's horrifying. Of course, he seemed to find it soothing. With a blissful, spaced-out smile on his face he collapsed into one of the chairs. As he did so I blew out the two candles.
For a moment he sat there struggling to breathe properly. I would've tried to help somehow if he didn't seem so nonchalant. It seemed that this breathlessness was
Finally, he spoke. "There's a newspaper… by the door. Many… people post ads. There's always someone... looking for a roommate."
I flipped to the classifieds. Then, I skimmed through it for a few minutes. Soon enough I spotted one that really stood out.
"Here's something!" I said, pointing to the ad.
"Whatsit say?"
"Apparently someone called Sherlock Holmes needs a rather specialized roommate. 'In search of a young man who can endure hours of droning violins, lift at least fifty pounds, and not be bothered by hypodermics scattered everywhere. An interest in the Stooges and the Velvet Underground always helps'." I laughed, somewhat nervously, then added: "As long as he's joking about the needles, this sounds good."
That's when I noticed that Doug's eyes were as wide as saucers (though his pupils remained pin-pointed).
"Oh, he's serious. That bastard... is a total lunatic. Ha!"
"You know him?"
"Everyone does! He's fucking crazy… yeah, but he's also… useful."
"Useful?"
"Yes, he's a detective. Solves crimes… for junkies… musicians… criminal types. People who… can't… trust the cops.."
I looked down at the ad again. At the bottom there was a phone number - presumably Holmes'.
"Where's the nearest phone booth?" I asked, glancing back at Doug.
Much to my annoyance, he'd fallen asleep. That meant I'd need to find a phone myself.
After retrieving a few coins out of my jacket pocket I left the small apartment. As I began to walk down the stairs I heard a voice behind me. A woman's voice, in fact…
"Who the hell are you?"
Slightly bothered by the swearing, I turned around. There stood a pretty, Jewish-looking girl with a strangely sultry smile. Her dark hair didn't appear to be very clean and her dress was held together by safety pins (I later learned that this was considered fashionable). Of course, the shabbiness only added to her charm.
"Who are you?" I replied.
"My name is Mary and I live in the flat above Doug's." She eyed me with slight suspicion. "You're a friend of his, yes?"
"We only met yesterday, actually."
"And you're leaving already? Why, most people consider him rather charming! It's the boyish face, the false ditziness, and the girly haircut - if you ask me."
"I do find him charming and I'm not leaving," I told her. "No, I'm just going to look for a phone. There's someone I need to call."
Mary smiled brightly. "Oh, I've got a phone. Would you like to borrow it? I'll let you do so for free."
So I borrowed Mary's phone. The call was pretty short. Apparently nobody else had shown any interest in sharing a flat with Sherlock Holmes. This worried me slightly. Still, virtually anything was better than sleeping on Doug's sofa again. I told the man who'd picked up the phone - presumably Holmes - that I'd meet him outside the Hotel Chelsea at exactly twelve o'clock. Given that it was only nine or so, I had enough time to ask someone (probably Mary) where and what the Hotel Chelsea was.

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