Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fiction Teaser: "The Anatomy of Addiction."

When putting together my collection, The Dark is Light Enough for Me (which is thisclose, I swear, it really is, to being out in print), the selection of stories was an odd process.  See, I've had a fair amount of stories published, yet in the collection, only four of the published stories are represented.  Why? Well, I believe it's me always looking forward, believing the more current work is more indicative of where I am now as a writer.

But that doesn't mean there hasn't been some good work before, oh no.  It's more what we--the publisher and yours truly--decided worked well together for a variety of tones, characters, well something like that.  Hey, my original TOC was quite different from what we ended up with, but I really love the way the stories work together and flow, man, flow...

I look forward to a second collection at some point which will address more of the published work that didn't make it into my debut collection.  I've already mapped it out.  It's a gnarly, lethal bastard but, no, not for now.  I'm working the new one, Baby!

Anyway, one of the stories that didn't make it into The a grim drug ride entitled, "The Last Supper (The Anatomy of Addiction)" which I am about positive I would publish as simply, "The Anatomy of Addiction."  It addresses one of my favorite subjects: addiction, drugs, the whole shebang.  As you should know if you've picked up the collection, two of the stories deal directly with drugs.  But this one also deals with a familiar Horror trope: Zombies. 

Yeah, really.

I'm not big on zombies or any of the other well-trod avenues along the Horror landscape, but for some reason they do crop up on occasion.  Now, that said, it's not as if they are the prime focus in any of the zombie-related fiction I've written; well, not in most.  "Anatomy..." deals with, as noted, addiction.  Being a fan of William S. Burroughs, Hubert Selby Jr., and Jerry Stahl, amongst others, as well as a fan of hallucinogenic fiction in general, I dabble via strange experiences and, um...talking to the pros.


Yeah, like with this story.  My best friend, Fred, has dealt with drugs over the years, though is mostly clean nowadays, besides the occasional relapse.  At the time I was writing this story, I remember calling him and saying, "I need info on shooting up."  He said it would be better if he just showed me.

No, I'm not Kidding.

So, he showed up at the house I was renting with my ex-wife, or was she my girlfriend then? Ah, no matter, she was out.  We sat in the dimly lit dining room as he set up.  And he did it, a lot like what's written in this story, talking through it, what this or that is called. And I soaked it up, watched the transformation.  It was a freaky, discomfitting experience, yet it made the story work.  I remember Brian Keene's reaction when I sent it to Horrorfind online, he called it a "seriously messed up" tale. 

It's now out in Best New Zombie Tales Volume 3, available via  You should check it out but, ahhhh, first, how about a taste here?  Yes, I am going to go for it.  Here's the scene in question, memories as dreams for Razor, our lead character, trapped within this zombie world.

This is what came out after I watched Fred shoot up.



"There are no dreams, only memories: 

     Razor bends the spoon, slightly, setting it on the table.  It does not wobble.  He then rips the end off of a Q-tip, setting the tiny cotton ball next to the spoon.  He nervously twists the remains into a question mark.  His hands are moist, his heart beginning to race.  Anticipation is such a sweet addition to the rush.  He taps the dope from its plastic baggy onto the spoon, the specifics of said dope unnecessary, the gist here deals as much with the process as it does with the high; nonetheless, the dope is crank, cocaine’s dirty white trash cousin.  His anxious fingers are now concrete in precision.  He squeezes water from the syringe onto the dope.  Flipping it over, Razor uses the plunger end to stir the mixture; it dissolves almost instantly, leaving an oily film over the top.  Good.  He closes his eyes; his nostrils flare: a hint of ether.  Definitely some good shit.  Blood sings in his ears.  His brain is a beehive--oh, yes, very good shit.  His thoughts are focused, streamlined; he is the conductor.  He drops the cotton ball into the mixture.  It soaks up the liquid like the sponge it is meant to emulate, like the putty of a child’s mind.  Always wanting more, whether it is knowledge, attention, or satisfaction.

    For Razor, it has always been satisfaction.  Circumstances have only magnified this desire, altered the means by which his satisfaction was achieved.  Now, satisfaction meant escape, running away, hopping on the metaphysically mutated freight train raging through his body.  He vaguely remembered some ancient classic rock performer’s nasal bleat and cackle: All Aboard!

     Razor uses the needle end to roll the cotton ball around, making sure to get everything.  He puts the flat end of the needle on the cotton ball, drawing the plunger back.  He raises the syringe to eye level, admiring the yellowish color.  At this angle, he pulls down again on the plunger, taps the syringe with his forefinger, and watches the bubbles rise.  Sweat trickles down the sides of his face.  Razor firmly presses the plunger back up.  He clenches and unclenches his fist, tightens the belt around his upper arm.  The veins protrude like mountains on a relief map.  The needle pierces flesh.  Razor gets the register; he is perfect as always: blood flows into the syringe.  He inhales and exhales, emitting an audible sigh of pleasure.  Now: Razor presses the plunger, slowly (teetering [patient])—Hold it (this is better than), hold it (any heaven they--who are they?), hold it (could promise), pulling back on the plunger (in the afterlife: 1. death 2. hunger...), jacking off (that’s what Metal Fred called it, milking the high, lingering before surrender: teetering…), so good, so good…pressing in again, fully, the freight train in overdrive (All Aboard! Hahahahaha...)--Pounding on the door--shit, the cops--yanking the needle from his arm--"


Okay, we'll stop there, it's alllllll about to fall apart.  Again, it's available in the aforementioned anthology.  Please check it out!

Next time? Ahhhhh, I see the Print Version of The Dark is thisclose, really, it is, to being published.  Or perhaps we'll deal with "Broken Teacup"?  That one is pure messed up bliss!  Hmmm...well, stick with me and find out.  ;-)

Here's the cover art for the anthology.  Check out that stellar list of contributors including Paul Kane, Tim Lebbon, Joe McKinney, Nancy Kilpatrick...I am in GREAT company!

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