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Hookers and Heroin

Hookers and Heroin

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Published by Andrew
This was originally written for an English class. The assignment was to write either a short story incorporating any seven poems that we had studied that semester or an essay about any five. Naturally, I wrote the short story.

The poems I feature are “Letter to the Dead” by Affonso Romano DeSant‘Anna, “My Wicked Wicked Ways” by Sandra Cisneros, “My Papas Waltz” by Theodore Roethke, “If We Must Die” by Claude McKay, “Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost, “Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson, and “Five Ways to Kill a Man” by Edwin Brock.
This was originally written for an English class. The assignment was to write either a short story incorporating any seven poems that we had studied that semester or an essay about any five. Naturally, I wrote the short story.

The poems I feature are “Letter to the Dead” by Affonso Romano DeSant‘Anna, “My Wicked Wicked Ways” by Sandra Cisneros, “My Papas Waltz” by Theodore Roethke, “If We Must Die” by Claude McKay, “Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost, “Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson, and “Five Ways to Kill a Man” by Edwin Brock.

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Published by: Andrew on May 17, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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“Friends, nothing has changed in essence. Wages don’t cover expenses, wars persistwithout end, and there are new and terrible viruses, beyond the advances of medicine.From time to time, a neighbor falls dead over questions of love. There are interestingfilms, it is true, and, as always, voluptuous women seducing us with their mouths andlegs, but in matters of love we haven’t invented a single position that’s new.“Some astronauts stay in space six months or more, testing equipment and solitude. Ineach Olympics new records are predicted and in the countries social advances andsetbacks. But not a single bird has changed its song with the times.“We put on the same Greek tragedies, reread “Don Quixote” and spring arrives on timeeach year.“Some habits, rivers, and forests are lost. Nobody sits in front of his house anymore or takes in the breezes of afternoon, but we have amazing computers that keep us fromthinking.“On the disappearance of the dinosaurs and the formation of galaxies we have no newknowledge. Clothes come and go with the fashions. Strong governments fall, others rise,countries are divided, and the ants and the bees continue faithful to their work.“Nothing has changed in essence.“We sing congratulations at parties, argue football on street corners, die in senselessdisasters, and from time to time one of us looks at the star-filled sky with the sameamazement we had when we looked at caves. And each generation, full of itself,continues to think that it lives at the summit of history.”I pull my hood tighter to my head and immediately shove my hands back into my pockets. It is bitterly cold and listening to Frank Claymont rant to Detroit’s poor doesnothing to improve my situation. I turn my back to the preaching anarchist and attempt to push my way out of the crowd that has formed around him. He keeps talking.“Why then, has society failed us? Why do we live in this post-apocalyptic battlegroundwhen the rest of the world lies in the lap of luxury? It is we as a people who need to gettogether and make a change. Force a change. The world cares nothing for our city. Theworld has forgotten all about us.” This provokes a reaction from the crowd. I look back upon Claymont from the outside and watch him draw a hush over them by raising hishand. “Listen to me,” he yells, “it is not too late. It is up to us to take back our city.”Exactly what we need, Claymont, more violence. I turn around and continue to walk away from that lunatic. For months he’s been speaking out and protesting that the poor  people of Detroit need to band together and take back control of our city from theoppressive bastards governing us.
Detroit has been under martial law for the past six years, ever since the gang violencewas so bad it escalated into an all out war in early 2006. It ended quickly when the armysent troops in to “maintain peace and order.” They sure as hell haven’t made it peaceful,and as far as order is concerned, crack is more abundant than gasoline. Soldiers patrol thestreets by jeep, rarely on foot, and even then do little to help anyone but themselves andthose on their ‘list.’ The army is based in the old armory center, lead by the corrupt andsadistic Lieutenant Carl Verges. It is common knowledge that he receives payoffs fromthe factory owners and drug lords alike in exchange for their protection. In Detroit, thearmy acts eerily similar to the mob. Which of course pisses off the real mob.Vinnie Tortelli, the boss of Detroit’s mob, moved in shortly after the gang wars. He sawthe lawless streets as the perfect opportunity to sell drugs and rip off the factories. Hetook his crew to the top of the organization and united all of Detroit’s crime families. Ioften see them clashing in the street, the goons of the mob trying to steal from slavedriving factory owners or gang drug lords and the soldiers being paid to protect them. Ionce worked for them, as a hit man, hired to kill who ever the boss desired. I quit, andhad to fake my own death in order to do so. Once your in with Vinnie “The Ratchet”Tortelli, your in for life. Or, in my case, death. It’s easy to fake an auto accident when noone cares enough to check.A light snow begins to fall as night comes creeping upon me and I hurry to get indoors.Stopping to talk to a few people on my way, I reach my tenement with two things: a bagof heroin and a hooker named Melissa. I open the door for the former and toss the latter on the table. “This is where I live. You like it?” I ask.I don’t believe I’m asking a hooker to judge where I live. Still, its something I wouldonly bring a hooker back to. There is very little furniture, only a table in the center withone chair, and a small bed, low to the floor, stuffed in the corner opposite the door. Asmall fridge sits to the right, and a stove and sink are built into a countertop aroundcorner from that. It is a very small place, eight feet by twelve feet, lit by a small lamphanging from the ceiling above the table. During the daytime it is lit by two largewindows above the bed.“Honey, I love wherever you bring me,” she answers.I smile at her. “Of course you do.” She smiles back and I rip open the bag of my drug.A few hours later Melissa and I sit on the floor letting the drug run through our systems.This is my favorite part about hookers: they make the best listeners. The overwhelmingeuphoric effect of it always acts like a truth serum for me and I end up spilling my guts.Melissa was lying on her stomach, one leg bent at the knee extended into the air, the other one stretched out behind her on the ground, her short white skirt riding down on her,exposing the small of her back. Her curly blond hair falls around her face as she rests her head in her hands and listens to my life story intently.
I pull a picture from my back pocket and show it to her. “This was taken when I was aweek old. This is my father. See?” I point to him.“He is young. He looks like Errol Flynn.” she says.He is wearing a hat that tips over one eye, a suit that fits him good, and baggy pants. Heis also wearing those awful shoes, the two-toned ones my mother hates.“Here is my mother. She is not crying. She cannot look into the lens because the sun is bright,” I lie. “The woman, the one my father knows, is not here. She does not come tilllater. My mother will get very mad. Her face will turn red and she will throw one shoe.My father will say nothing. After a while everyone will forget it. Years and years will pass. My mother will stop mentioning it.”Melissa is looking at me with pity and intrigue. I point to myself. “This is me she iscarrying. I am a baby. She does not know I will turn out bad.” I look up at Melissa, andstare into her eyes. She stares back into mine, while a look of confusion and intrigue fallsover hers.“What do you mean ‘turn out bad’?” she asks. I smile at her; I think that she honestly believes there is nothing the matter with our lifestyles. I guess its true, ignorance is bliss.“Look at me. I just snorted a fifty bag with a whore in my jail cell apartment. Is this goodto you?” Maybe I was a little harsh with my words. Maybe I shouldn’t have raised myvoice as much as I did, either. But she’s only a whore, after all.Maybe she was high, too, because she didn’t seem to mind. Or if she did, she didn’t showit. She just kept smiling at me and said, “No, I’m serious. What do you mean ‘turn out bad’.”I returned her blank smile for a few seconds and tried to figure out where to begin.“Before this whole city went to hell, when people still had real jobs, real lives, I kept adecent place. ‘Bout twice the size of this. I was the daytime manager of a Denny’s.“One day I came home from work to find out that my girlfriend had left me. No note, nogoodbye, no clues, nothing. She even took our two year old son with her. To this day Ihave no idea where she went, or why she left.” I look up at Melissa. She was no longer smiling, and neither was I. “That broke my heart. It still hurts. I picked up a pretty nastydrug habit after that. Got me fired from my job, but it was cool, I sold this shit to get by.Then the gang wars started.”Melissa put her hand in mine, her fingers soft to the touch. “I’m sorry baby. That bitchdid quite a number on you.” Her attempt to console me only made me feel worse for myself. Its been almost two years since she left me, and not a day has gone by that Ihaven’t thought about her. It hurts less and less with each passing day, but it still hurts

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