sno doz, the city which never sleeps
up near the eaves, waiting to drop like a stone, it was close to business as usual. Norris Gable, sometime broker in scrap iron – and officially the groom – paced the floor cagily and threw coffee after coffee down his throat. Outside the occasional siren wailed and the constant jackhammer in his head could only be appeased with a chain-smoker\’s fumbled offering. In and out, the fumes catching in his chest and the butterflies protesting. \”Fuck this,\” he said. \”My nerves are shot. I am almost out of cigarettes and I\’d sooner recycle those butts in the ashtray than go down there and buy some more.\”
He pressed his nose to the glass puttied in the metal frames and ran his fingers over his neck. Agitated, he wasted five minutes or so rifling the window sill for stray papers. There were none and he knew it. He might kill an hour pointlessly going through pockets hanging on coat hooks next to the electric meter but in the end he would come back empty-handed. There was no percentage in it, it was just the unconscious desire to worm his head into the noose; to fiddle with the knot.
\”Fuck, fuck, fuck,\” he went. Creaking back and forth.
The minute hand on the clock on the kitchen wall turned faster than he could believe. Not spinning, no. A kind of spastic twitching, merely. The tick of one hand clapping in mirthless applause.
\”Oh well. There is nothing else for it. I will just sit down and watch that tv programme on The City Addicted to Crystal Meth. That should be distracting.\”
It was just like peering into the mirror. A procession of strung out blank eyed insects; each one twisting on bespoke soldering wire. Going through the motions of nothing in particular. Keep the green tea on ice. His own bag from now until tomorrow was nothing more than caffeine, like Philip K. Dick with an empty fridge.
Blink and you might miss it.
▼ WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS: MILDRED PIERCE REPORTING (OLD SARGE) from \”Spare Ass Annie and Other Tales\” CD (Island Red) 1993 (US)