Breakfast at Tiffany's.
It’s eight fifty-seven. I pray to God his phone’s switched on. I hit redial. He’s the only person we’ve phoned since last night. He’s the only person we ever call. Nobody ever phones us — why would they? I mean, it’s not as if we go out much, except to get money.
-Hello? He says.
-Hi Craigy, what you looking for?
-Two smack, one coke. Thing is, though… We can’t pay until tomorrow.
There’s a long pause, I’m half expecting Vivaldi’s four seasons to start playing, like it does when you phone the social.
-Fuck sake, Craigy. Your bill is at four hundred as it is, and this will take you up to four-seventy. You’ll have to get it, I’ve got people that I answer to as well you know.
-Don’t worry, mate. It’ll be there.
-Do you know what will happen if it’s not?
-I know, I know, I say. No need to worry.
I glance at my partner as she sits on the couch, fear spread over her face.
-Al be there in thirty minutes, al ring once and you come down the stairs.
He hangs up the phone before I can.
I wipe the sweat from my brow, and then hang up the receiver. We don’t start making up trays and tooters with the foil just yet; we never do that until after drop off. Call it superstition: A thousand things can go wrong in this game.
I pick up the skins and delve my yellow fingers into the ash-laden ashtray, pulling out the best doups. I make a roll-up.
-Tomorrow? She says, shaking her head. Fucking tomorrow, Craigy? You should have told the cunt Friday.
-If I said Friday, he would have said no; I could tell by his voice.
-Tell by his voice? Right ye are. If we don’t get that money by tomorrow, him and his friends will be right through that door, kicking the shit out of you, and doing God only knows what to me.
-Don’t worry, it won’t come to that; Al get the money later, even if I have to go out through the night for a turn.
-You couldn’t turn a card, fuck sake, Craigy, she says, shaking her head with resentment in her eyes.
-Come on, I say, everything will be fine; I put my arm around her shaking body. Yesterday’s heroin and methadone, slowly seeping out of our pores causing us both to freeze.
I light my roll-up.
-Ring, ring, then it stops.
We both look at the phone. I smile at her. She smiles back.
She takes the roll-up from my mouth. I pull my trainers on, make my way out of the front door and bounce down the close stairs two at a time, and out onto the street.
The electric window on the fancy blue car slides down; he sits there staring at me from behind a pair of shades.
I put my hand in; He puts three little wraps in it, I get a glance. Two are brown, and one is white. I grip my hand tightly around them. I can almost feel the sweat on my back drying up with anticipation.
- Craigy. He says, smiling.
-I’ve got valium here as well; I can give you some. Take you up to five hundred quid, though, for tomorrow, if you can handle it?
I pause to think about it. He notices my hesitation and awkwardness.
-Look if you can’t pay, you know what will happen. If it’s too much for you, we could find a job or two for that little Mrs; of yours.
-Nah, that’s not necessary, I say, wiping away more sweat as it trickles down my forehead. She’s not the type. Anyway, I’ve got a few quid coming in tomorrow, five hundred will be easy. Aye mate, give me the valium, as well.
He hands me a little clump of blue tablets crudely wrapped in clingfilm. I smile. He smiles. I turn and head back into the close and back up the stairs.
I get in and she’s sitting there making trays and tooters to smoke the heroin off. I throw this morning’s breakfast on the table.
She opens the brown wrap first and, with a piece of card, tips a little pile of the powder onto the foil. She has the tooter in her mouth and puts the flame under it.
I tip my pile on the spoon and start making up my shot.
I can smell the sweet smell of candy fill the room. Little bubbles appear on my spoon as my smack mixes with water turning it into a tea-coloured liquid.
I swallow ten blue valiums. My face screws up as a metallic taste clatters in my mouth.
-They taste fucking awful, hen.
-Aye, they’ll be fake; valium is supposed to have a sweet taste.
-Fuck it, I say, I could use a different buzz anyway, see if I can find that little space in heaven, like the first time.
-I hear you, but two will do me, she says taking a couple with a sip of tea.
I watch her; she chases her little beetle back and forth across the foil. The smoke shoots up her tooter, into her mouth and straight into her lungs. The morning frost melts away into a summer glow, which shows happily on her face.
I tighten the tourniquet, my mainline rises out of my arm like the river Nile. I prod the tip of the needle into it, A spurt of blood shows up in my tools. I draw back the barrel and it rushes in, changing the tea-coloured liquid into a dark imposing red. I send that baby home. I pull the needle out and sink back into the couch. Those fake valium complement the smack just perfectly. I watch her smoking with a smile on my face, as I slip further, and further — away.
REST IN PEACE, CRAIGY. FOREVER IN OUR HEARTS.