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[AFWC] Something's Funny About These Delphanol Bugs

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posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 08:20 PM
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I only see the Bugs when I’m on the Delphanol but I know they’re there all the time. They aren’t like the old bugs, before the Delpha, crawling up and down my body, biting, digging, burrowing into me. I hated those bugs and shiver to think about those days. I picked, fought, burnt my own skin raw and all but begged those little #s to stop.

Like I said, that was before the Delpha; before I was clean. Before the nice short man with a hokey name badge and a stain on his tie picked me up off the street and took me to the center, I would have sworn to you those bugs were real.

“How ‘ya feelin’ son?” The Short Man called me son. That was the nicest thing anybody had called me in a while. I didn’t answer him though; not to be a # or anything. To be honest, I didn’t feel anything. I hadn’t felt anything for a long time. Maybe I’d forgot that I could even feel. How am I feeling? Makes me want to laugh. What was there to say? I’m feeling high - I’m feeling not-high - Can you get me high?

But that was then. Needless to say I had fallen out of the loop. Don’t have much time (or money) for a newspaper when you’re sleeping on a vent, saving up change for the next chance to meet your little friends, curl up in horror, wait for them to disappear and somehow feel alright for the first time all day. So when the Short Man led me to a indiscrete center or ‘office’ as he called it, I didn’t think much about it.

It was a brownstone somewhere in Manhattan, nestled in between the homes of people who had done alright for themselves. Watching the Short Man fumble with his keys I wondered what kind of sexual things he’d want to do to me, and how much he’d pay. We got past the first set of doors and reached some kind of Star-Trek looking key pad. Past the second doors, I realized this was no home.

“Holy #.” were the first words I had spoken in front of the Short Man. “What did you say your name was?” I looked over the white room, operating tables, medical equipment. Looked like the guy was running a hospital out of his kitchen. I hadn’t learned to trust yet, so when the Short Man answered, “Just call me friend,” I decided to make a run for it. Of course the doors didn’t open for a junkie like me.

Next thing, I was waking up, strapped to one of those beautiful tables, the blood hadn’t been quite mopped off the floor yet and I almost thought I could see my fingernail marks on the door. Yet, I felt good. The Short Man and his Boss stood over me, glowing like angels. “I love you,” I told them, as if the escape plan had never transpired. They looked at each other and laughed.

That was my first experience with Delpha and as the weeks wore on I could swear I owed my life to those men. There was no real explanation. My body didn’t ache. The craving that had consumed my life was gone. They gave me a one-hundred dollar bill, told me to get out and they hoped to see me ‘real soon‘; the type of pleasantry you could never hear in my former life. I stuttered, “You too,” shook their hands and went on my way.

I felt clean walking out of that brownstone headed back toward the steps outside the 24-hour diner I called my home. Not Hulk-Hogan, McGruff the Crime-Dog, Drug Free’s the Way to Be Clean: Showered clean. And I didn’t just feel clean, I smelled clean. My clothes did too. When I got to the Diner I ordered a stack of pancakes and tipped Juan about half the bill. He had always been good to me, the bum that sat outside by the garbage, scaring away the occasional tourist/potential customer.

This was the end of seeing the old-bugs, and before I saw the first new-bugs. Maybe it was the best day of my life. Then again, maybe I had walked into the very center of Dante’s Inferno, stared Lucifer in his frozen eyes only to say, “Geez. It sure is hot out there.”

I didn’t care. I felt alive. I took the subway to the library, a place I hadn’t visited in years but remember fondly from my childhood. On the way off the train, the art, advertisements and graffiti that adorn the walls danced in beautiful harmony. I came up on the street, took a breath of fresh air and entered the library for a few hours. That’s when the damndest thing happened. Katie.
She wasn’t the prettiest thing I had ever seen, but as she handed me the job-application I fell in love. I didn’t ask any questions. I asked Katie to have a drink with me after she was finished and later she would help me fill out the application over our favorite beer. For the next 3 weeks, I worked in the stacks without a craving of my former life. I slept at Katie’s sometimes and in front of the diner when she wouldn’t have me. I never lied to myself enough to believe I was her only lover during that time, but I never let her know.

I was keeping my money in a locker provided for us in the employee lounge and it was only a matter of time until I had enough to get my own place. And it was in the stacks that I finally saw the Short Man again. I guess ‘see you soon’ wasn’t a pleasantry after-all. “I’d like you to come with me after you’re done here.” I agreed. When I got off work that afternoon I followed Short Man to the brownstone. He sat a plastic cup in front of me.

“This is Delphanol son.” It looked like that was all he was going to say.

“What is it?”

His eyes squinted, searching for the correct answer. “You can call it a personal savior.”

“Is this what you gave me when we met last time?”

“Yessir.”

For the first time, I wondered where the hell this guy was from. He looked like a hillbilly, some kind of city transplant.

“Thank you.” I answered not knowing what else to say.

“No, thank you….for being,” his eyes squinted and head tilted, “for being so kind.”

“So kind?”

“So kind to indulge us. So kind to take a chance. We’ve been looking for someone… willing… to help us…. help them.”

“But I didn’t --”

“Ofcourse you did!” The Short Man new what I was going to say. “You took the leap! How is your life coming along son?”

“Its going fine, but I didn’t….before…I didn’t-”

“Look. If you want this life. This new thing you have going to continue. Its important that - It’s important that we meet from time to time.”

I didn’t like what I heard. “How much?”

“How much? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha….Its free son!”

A rage boiled inside of me. I stood up. “You’re a God Damned Pusher!” I didn’t know he was only trying to help.


(CONTINUED)




posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 08:21 PM
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“No! No, No, No, No….I’m not a ….. pusher….. Look…… You’re life is better this way! Its better kid!” I didn’t like the shift from son to kid, but I sat back down.
“Drink this.” He offered. “Drink this and things will be OK.”

I had heard of government programs before. I wasn’t sure if this guy was a cop or what. I had had a cousin who was on methadone for a while, but never heard of this Delpha stuff. If I needed it, I needed it. Who was I to be proud. He didn’t have to say anymore. I drank it down.

“Now,” his voice sang like a harp, “You have to understand a few things.” He handed me a vanilla folder. I thumbed through its contents, all empty pages. “What we need is for you to keep a list.”

“A list?”

“What we need is for you to keep a list of things that you see…”

“Uh-”

“Things you see, while you’re on the Delphanol.”

“What am I…supposed….to see?”

“Nothing.” He said in a tortured way, “Just make sure you write anything down. This isn’t an exact, er, science. And one more thing, make sure not to say anything…to anybody…..don‘t tell anybody about us.”

The murals danced on my way back to Katie’s. Over the next few weeks I took to using the blank pages given to me as a diary. I didn’t see anything spectacular. God did not split open the ceiling and speak to me. Aliens didn’t take me in my sleep. Sure things seemed brighter than usual. Things and people moved funny. Perhaps I had simply forgotten what normal truly was during my years as an addict. So I wrote. I wrote about what I thought and felt; how things had finally turned around; how I regretted the years behind me and looked forward to the years to come.

When the Short Man came again, he was happy to take the diary and promised to give it a read. My life was better than ever in my mind. I had finally found a place and stayed at Katie’s less often. Never went back to the Diner much though. As the months went by, the Short Man came and went, brought me back to the brownstone, gave me the Delpha and even had an informal chat or two with me.

I still wonder if he actually read all those pages I handed to him each month. But of course, there wasn’t too much for him to find. My guess is he gave up after the first few visits and the first thousand pages. I wrote ferociously. The writing, like my visits to the brownstone became more therapeutic than anything else. I never gave a thought after the sixth or seventh visit why this was happening to me, why I was chosen, who the Short Man worked for. We even played a game of poker or two. One time the Boss even sat in on a hand.

Anyways, I know he must have stopped reading at some point. At least by the fifth visit. That was the first time I referenced the bugs.



(CONTINUED AT LATER DATE)



posted on Nov, 24 2009 @ 01:54 PM
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Before I believed; before I knew they were real - it all started with a cigarette. I stepped out of my place around four in the morning. Usually I’d be waking up that early, but this day I couldn’t sleep and decided to pull the all-nighter and try to cut out of work early, later in the afternoon. The morning was cold and dark as I sat down on the bottom step and started rolling a cigarette. I reached in my pocket - no light. Damn it.

I stood up to head back inside and noticed a figure smoking outside my next door neighbor’s. “Erin?” The man didn’t respond. I didn’t care. I was tired and Fourteen flights of stairs to fetch a lighter was the last way I wanted to start my smoke break. I hopped off the steps and stepped toward what I then knew to be a man. I could tell he was wearing a suit and figured Erin had had company that night. “Excuse me. I’m Erin’s neighbor. Got a light?”

The Bug turned around, his pinchers flexed and I could see everything all too clear. Fight or flight kicked in, but all I could do was freeze. I had screwed up. My many years of begging had erased the cliché - don’t talk to strangers - from my memory. And so here I sat face to face, not six feet way from an immaculately dressed ant. His antenna turned focused in on me, the Bug reached in his pants pocket and with a voice like Clark Gable, spoke; “Sure thing,” and produced a cheap, plastic lighter.

Now, I know what you might be thinking: run. And I was thinking the same thing. But then again I had made it this far. Does anyone really want to # off a six-foot tall prehistoric creature in Calvin Klein? Not wanting to touch the thing, I put the cigarette between my lips and leaned forward trustingly. The Bug’s claws seemed almost too awkward to operate the lighter. For a moment, before he lit my cigarette, I almost felt bad for him. Poor space-monster flew all the way from the moon, got hooked on nicotine and can’t go back to see his family. I laughed nervously as I took a first and second drag.

“Are you Erin’s friend?” What the hell was I thinking. Lets start a conversation with this Bug, maybe he’ll come over for dinner sometime. Stupid.

“Erin? Ah, no. Just passing through town.” I watched the Bug intently when it spoke. The feelers swayed like tall grass in a slow wind or one of those gigantic NASA satellites scanning the sky for alien TV shows. If only they’d point one of those suckers at Manhattan tonight, I thought. It may sound strange, but as it spoke, I thought for a minute the Bug seemed human. In the slight glow of the streetlights, I could have sworn the pinchers morphed into a proper mouth. Then again, when I was seventeen, I could have sworn I saw my Mother breathing as she laid in her casket. And just like that:

“Still smoking?” The bug asked as he returned my nervous laugh, “What would your mother think?”

“Yea, I guess I am.” I wanted to ask the Bug what he did for a living, where he was from, why he was passing through New York - but the bizarre nature of the situation sat on my chest and wouldn’t let proper small talk pass my lips. No need, though.

“I’m serious. Your mother would probably be very disappointed.” A lecture from an ant.

“Well, what would yours say?”

“You’re right….” his feelers moved about, “If anything she’d be proud. Look at you, turning your life around the way you did.”

“Excuse me?”

“Turning a life around. A life in trouble. Getting off the drugs.” The strange-as-#-straw that broke the camel’s back.

“I have to go inside.” I said it, but didn’t really mean it. So I stood still.

“I’m Sorry. Too personal. Look I’m done with my last cigarette. Here,” he held out the lighter, “you can keep this.”

I grabbed it and put it in coat. I was feeling more like a child with each passing moment. If I was a child, I would poke this thing with a stick. All I wanted to do now was shake the thing’s hand, but I didn’t know if he’d let me. And if he did, there was always the possibility he could crush my bones like a pack of soup crackers. “How long are you in town for?” I asked instead.

“All the time.”

I took my eyes off the creature for the fist time. I wanted to ask him what he meant. “Look,” he said, “a taxi.” And there sat a taxi outside Erin’s curb. Did he call it? I don’t remember. My senses aren’t their best at four in the morning, and I did have bigger things to worry about at the time - like, say, the insectoid demon I was sharing a smoke with. And the Bug had already stepped on his butt, and opened the door to the taxi. “Nice chatting with you.” He told me and slammed the door shut.

Behind the glass, the Bug looked like any other passenger. I wondered if the cabby would even notice. I walked up the stairs, inside, and up the other thirteen flights. I locked my door and poured a shot of Makers. It was almost five. Was I out there for an hour? Or had I left later than I thought I did. It was going to be a long day.

But that was that. Of course, I didn’t say a word to Katie or anybody else. He said he was around all the time. Maybe this is the kind of thing I had stopped noticing during those long years - maybe I had fried my brain beyond imagination. I kept a cup of coffee with me in the stacks, against protocol, but it helped me get through the morning and early afternoon. I wondered if all these books were getting in my head somehow; if each time I touched one I took with me a little piece of fantasy, or science. Katie invited me over, I declined - just wanted to go home and sleep.

Nothing happened for a long time. I put the Bug encounter in my diary and the Short Man didn’t say a word about it. Like I said, I’m pretty sure he just stopped reading. The visits became more mundane. Some chit-chat, the occasional card game, but mostly Delphanol and home. Once, Katie invited me out to the Diner I used to call home, the experience was nerve racking to say the least - trying to be polite to Juan without letting Katie know why I was being so chummy.

On the way out, we decided to take a walk. Katie suggested the park, but I insisted we serpentine up and down the streets near the brownstone. The Short Man had always led me there, but I knew where it was. I wanted to see if there was anything different about it - anything that stood out without the context of the Short Man and my need for Delpha. Funny though, I just couldn’t find the thing. Well, at least I couldn’t identify it.


(CONTINUED)



posted on Nov, 24 2009 @ 01:55 PM
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“I guess these places do all look the same.” I said out loud.

“What honey?” Katie called me honey. It reminded me of the Short Man calling me son, only better. I didn’t know how to answer her so she answered herself. “I still like them, I’d love to live in one someday.”

“Yea….” I murmured, scanning my head up and down the street looking for any distinguishing sign. I guess it didn’t matter. I knew I had passed it, so then - I guess - I saw it. Doesn’t matter if I can identify it. I don’t need to and it’s there.

“Don’t you like them?”

“Yea, I do. That’s why I wanted to take the walk here instead of the park.” I laughed inappropriately and faux punched her in the arm, like you would a best friend. She gave me a funny look. I decided to break the awkward silence.

“Let’s get home…honey. It’s getting dark.”

I slept with Katie that night. And received my visit from the Short Man the next day. As he approached me in the stacks, I realized this was my opportunity to take down the address of the brownstone. But I had no such luck.

“Look son,” the Short Man was out of breath, “ we’re getting busy at the office, I’ve brought your…. Stuff….here, in this.” He held out a small bottle. “Drink this down and if it’s alright with you I’ll just start coming to you.” I took the small white container, unscrewed the top, and smelled the contents. It smelled the same as usual. I drank it before asking my question.

“How many people do you have on this stuff?” My face puckered up, the Delpha was bitter as always.

“How many? Oh, I don’t know. That’d be a question for the boss. But this kind of thing…it’s medical…I don’t know if we can go releasing that information to just anybody that asks.” I wondered why anybody would be so secretive about such a wonderful thing. “You wouldn’t want me to go around telling all your friends and coworkers, landlord, you know…everybody. That you were a junkie would you?” It sounds threatening as I write this, but at the time, it seemed perfectly reasonable.

“I wouldn’t. You’re right.”

“Excellent…..now just hand me the bottle,” he took the bottle and looked at his watch, “I’ll be seein’ you again. Same as always!” He turned.

“Well, let me ask you this.” I said. He turned back toward me. “How long am I going be on this stuff? How long am I going need it?”

“Oh,” He wiped his forehead, I could tell it was getting hot for him down in the stacks. It got hot a lot for me too, “you know, this might not be the place. If we’re gonna meet like this from now on, its better if you save your questions for a time we can meet at the office.”

“Nobody’s here. I’m the only one, haha,” I masked my concern, “ you can tell me now.”

“Well son, here’s the thing. This, uh, medicine isn’t just for what ails you. Many different people take it for many different reasons.”

“Is there somewhere else I can get this….medicine? Asides from you.”

“See, this helped you get over your problems. But lets say you had a different problem. Let’s say you wanted to lose weight, er, save your marriage. Any thing really. We think this might have potential. Its like psychology in a can….except its not in a can, yet. Ha Ha.”

“But is there somewhere else I can get it.”

“Oh, no. Not right now. Someday maybe. But listen, its very important that you don’t tell anybody. It’s helped you right?”

“Of course, it has. I just want to know when I can stop.

“Look, I have to go, but long story short kid, I don’t know. If I was you, I’d stay safe. Better safe than sorry right? Haha.” He wiped his forehead again. “Now I really have to get going. More satisfied patients to visit!”

“Alright.”

“Oh, and I’ll pick up your writing next time we meet. That is if I can carry it all! Haha. Great stuff in there, great stuff.” And with that, the Short Man was gone.

I thought about asking him if he actually read any of it. Especially my encounter with a six foot tall ant straight out of a 1950’s sci-fi movie. Maybe after being clean for a bit longer, I could pressure him more, try to get off the Delpha. But it hadn’t been long enough. Days turn into months turn into years and decades. I didn’t want to risk going back and for now, the world was so lovely. If I told anybody, it might jeopardize my supply. I laughed to myself; my supply. Never thought I’d say something like that again.

Also, the Ant had only appeared once and for a brief time. Sure there were time’s I thought I saw him in the crowd. Standing at a bus-stop, pushing a baby stroller, window shopping with a group of friends. But a second glance always brought me back to reality. The books around me all but spoke to me. I felt like I could hear them screaming out their stories along with a primal drum solo banging in my chest.

I grabbed a book thumbed through its pages and smelled what I could swear were the feelings of the characters inside. I liked this new reality. It made me feel safe. At least until what happened to Katie.



(CONTINUED AT A LATER TIME)



posted on Dec, 21 2009 @ 06:09 PM
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WOW! I await your conclusion with great anticipation! Thoroughly creepy, discoporeal, surreal. Excellent so far........ in fact, in some ways, your story could stop there, if you were going for pure artistic effect.

I have to hope that you have a storyteller soul, and will finish it, but either way....... good job.



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