BECAUSE

The house loomed black beyond the last lamppost. Because it stood three floors high on its own bricked-off hillock. Because the taxi bhangra fades when someone says my name. Because he steps out from the shadow of a brick-built bus stop wearing studs that glint on his face. Because he tells me to come inside he’ll sort me. Because inside is a long dim hallway, doors with numbers and a flight of orange-lit stairs. Because his flat has two other blokes on a dirty sofa. Because the fat one is familiar and the sleeping one not. Because the man I rang from the pub says How much? I say An ounce. Because the fat bloke smirks I say What? he says Nothing. Because the man goes into a dirty kitchen, puts half a soap bar into a dirty microwave, ping. Because he says Fifty, gives me a warm brown block that fits in my palm, then my pocket. Because he grins and glints says Want to put some in a mix? Because I take my gear out, give it back to him with the money. Because he passes it to smirking fatso. Because fatso unwraps it, flicks a lighter to it, flame licking a corner. Because I want to watch how much he crumbs off but can’t. Because the bloke I rang from the pub waves a freezer-bag half-full of pills in my face says FIVE HUNDRED OF THE FUCKERS! Because he grins and glints says Want one? Because I say Yeh. Because I’ve not done them before I say I have. Because I swallow it, take another. Because fatso passes a bottomless plastic bottle curling with white smoke like spunk in a bath. Because I nearly cough my ring up. Because I tell them to put some different music on. Because This is SHIT. Because fatso laughs I say What? he says Nothing. Because I need water. Because I think I’m going to chuck up. Because back from the bathroom my face is drip-wet with sweat. Because the bloke I rang from the pub says Ten more for the pills. Because I’ve only got five he says Slate. Because I have to go now. Because the door won’t open. Because when it does I fall through it. Because the man picks me up says That way don’t forget. Because there are too many hallways and too many doors. Because I fall down the last half of the stairs. Because outside I find the road. Because outside I find the moon. Because outside I find home somehow, remembering trees and bus stops and pubs, that I didn’t get my gear back, that fatso’s kids go to school with my kids, that next-door’s koi-carp pond brings a river to my sleep, that eddies slow hush through a fern-filled gully, first light breaks white, through pine to a sway of open hand.