When it gave me options on what type of sensitive material this contained, all I could think of was all of the above lol.
“I can see it now, how this all ends. You're my inspiration to get help; in 2 days I'm going to treatment.”
“Oh, really? How does this all end?”
“Listen, man. You need help; you're in denial. You won't live long, living this way.”
“I don't care, Mate, I really don't. I have a date. When I get back, we’ll have a hit.”
“No, I'm done. No more hits, no more strange stories of what you do back there, no more nothing. I want out of this life.”
“You're being an ass. We'll talk when I get back. I've got to go; salvation awaits.”
They left me bloody and tortured more than usual this time. If only their wives knew what dirty deeds they were doing behind their backs with the jumper man. I stumble back to my enlightened friend and his horrified face tells me I must look worse than I feel.
“We need to get you to the hospital!”
“Another hit man.”
Once the medicine man comes and fixes me up, the lights will carry me to the heavens above. The blood isn't real, and this idiot has no idea what he's talking about. Bodies against buildings in the street; they turn into zombies, that feast on upon the flesh. All of them sick from withdrawals; their lips blue and their bodies covered in pox marks. The insects crawling on their skin, from hole to hole, the flesh either too yellow or too pale: Human once, but now too far gone.
“Get me a drink,” I say.
“We need to get you to the hospital.”
“And a fresh needle... here, this one will do,” I say, picking one off the ground; blowing on it. “It's barely got any dirt on it at all.” I blow on it with sick breath, but it's clean breath: cleaner than the rest. The needle is clean and ready for use, but this fool won't listen to a word I say.
“You're not gonna make it. What the fuck is wrong with you?”
“Leave me here you fool. Pass that drink over there, next to the rag doll girl. I know it's only half piss. The other half has the liquor: that's the only thing that'll save me now.”
“You'll fucking die!”
“Wouldn't it be my lucky day?”
“I'm leaving; see if I care.”
“Off with you then. The medicine man will be here soon and he'll fix me up, and then you'll see what a fool you've been.”
“You really are a crazy motherfucker. I can't live this life anymore, not out here, with bat shit crazy fuckers like you.”
“You never were out here: you're a rich, educated child. Off with you then. You were never built for this life.”
“People like you don't even want help. Look at you, sitting there, dying. People walk by and they look down at us and spit with hate. I don't think I'll ever be able to live with myself, and you, you don't even care.”
“Off with you! You were never about this life. They'll have to take me in before I ever quit!”
The medicine man comes and hooks us all up. I plug in and plunge, sucking out blood; trying to flag. The men come and go; the women latch on for help. They can't fend for themselves in the world of pins and needles. And that bastard doubted if I would make it. Off to the fantasy land: to a life worth living and fighting for. To a life worth dying for.
Bag of clothes shaped like people hobble on the cobblestone. Their sunken eyes and wrinkles peek through slits that separate their ratty hats from their muddy overcoats. The sun rises and they sit in the fetal position, with their faces in their arms—only peeking up once in a while—as they slowly die waiting for their next fix. Hours pass; the medicine man is late, and so is my date. When my date makes haste and lets me taste the paste, I'll have enough for my syringe-filled waste.
A man comes up in a dark blue pressed suit, with a clean shaved smile and thick well maintained hair. But the smile’s gone once he comes up to me and I see a look in his eye that he means to hurt me: use; abuse. All behind closed doors, so no one in town knows his secret. He looks around and his face turns evil as he asks,
“Are you the Jumper man?”
“I am,” I say, “What do you need?”
“You know what I need... where?”
“Back of the alley, behind the drugstore.”
“Let's go then. I don't have all day. I gotta pick up my kids from school.”
I walk with head held low, and he snarls at me; the beast. More intent on satisfaction than love. This is my life: this is the cycle. They call me the jumper man because I jump from date to date.
Back behind the alley, I bend down in front of him.
“Alright then,” he says.
He pulls it out, and we have our date.
“Yeah, you fucking piece of shit! You like that!”
He abuses: they're either abusers or lovers or men so lost that they think what they are doing is the worst sin of all—even though I'm the one doing the work. If they're sinners, then I'm the one carrying them in my arms to hell for the devil to greet us both. He finishes and makes a mess on me and I hang my head and hold out my hand: He pays. At least he pays this time and I have enough for my medicine.
The wait is the worst, and the concrete walls start to bleed around my peripheral. Streets littered and forgotten; souls waiting for a heroic gesture to save them from the pain they've inflicted upon themselves. The pain always comes from somewhere; we just feed the demon his poison and make its wrath intensified.
A jump to paradise, and I forget it all.
Brightness burns my brain through eyelids held shut. I can only squint for a moment before the hand of God closes them tightly, pressing them against my cheeks. Through each squint I see a little more: tubes in the arms, straps holding me down. I can't move my body, but the world moves around me and the breather on my face gives me oxygen I don't want. I don't want any of this, only my medicine. I'm the Jumper man, and I don't want the cycle to end.
“We need a doctor fast. We're losing him!”
They'll lock me away, from the world I’m accustomed to; give me the counselors, the therapists, all the people I don't want to talk to. They want me in this world: I'll never understand why. I know I did my last jump, my last date, my last hit, my last escape to euphoria from the world that doesn't make sense to me.
“We gave him an adrenaline shot. He needs something more!”
I can't make the words out. I turn them away, not allowing anything to enter my brain.
I was married once, but I didn't love her. When she found me on one of my dates, it broke her heart and she took my house, my car, my kid, my life, my everything. The boss found out and found a reason to fire me, so the poison life become my new everything, and I was finally happy.
Maybe they don't realize that I like living in the sludge of society's drainpipe. Maybe I love what I do because the pain of walking in the land of whitened smiles and fake greetings makes me sicker than the worst shakes ever could. The cocaine board room executives and their painted-up, lip-injected wives controlling the universe; their handshake deals that are always broken, their two-car garage houses with the white picket fence; the neighborhood kid who walks the paper to their house three times a week but doesn't even get a tip at Christmas time.
They want me to blend in with them?
The organized gangs that think they're tough, but can't look a man in the eye as they kill him; the musicians and actors with no talent that becomes a superstar; the tabloids, the Kardashians, the homemade porno tapes—that couldn't rival a tenth of the depravity of what the jumper man does on a daily—that make the rich even richer.
They want me to live in that world?
The jumper man has jumped the coup, and they're sure to lock me away: Either in the asylums or the jails; they'll try to save me before the grave. They just can't let a man die in peace. The trip is over; I knew it wouldn't last. But what I wouldn't give, for one more hit, and one more date, and one more chance to try and find the permanent escape.