Subito, Subito (A Novel)

1. Suddenly, he was married and he was addicted to heroin. These two matters seemed to have nothing to do with each other but they took place at approximately the same time.

2. Suddenly, as he reviewed the entire history of the world and his place in it he saw that he was a failure, his life was over at age 25. It was a reasonable judgment to think this. He had no talents, he had shot his wad. He had used up all his luck.

3. Suddenly, his best friend, a guitar player, went deaf. This was mysterious and sad and sort of comic and profoundly boring all at the same time, since this friend continued to take part in conversations with no clue, and still tried to play the guitar. The friend went to an acupuncturist but that didn't help.

4. Suddenly, he just wanted to stay in bed. He didn't want to get dressed. His bed seemed very large but the plates and books and needles began to pile up. Suddenly his wife began sleeping in the other room, on the couch, falling asleep with the television still on.

5. Suddenly, he was always tired but he couldn't get any sleep. More heroin seemed like the logical solution but once he was high he felt drowsy and in this way hours often passed. Sometimes he would doze off. As long as he had heroin he was okay.

6. Suddenly, he was impotent and his wife was annoyed with him. He tried to persuade her to blow him and be patient, because by "impotent" he meant that he could sort of get it up he just couldn't come, but he didn't stay that hard for long, and his wife grew weary of this situation. Although he urged her to continue she said she'd had enough.

7. Suddenly, there was all this pounding upstairs. He was too passive to pound back, or investigate, and the pounding just went on and on. Maybe it served some purpose. It was pretty annoying. Eventually it stopped.

8. Suddenly, he hadn't gone outside in about three months. His dealer came to his home, and told him long stories about other people [whom he understood to be junkies], and these stories never ended happily. The dealer laughed a lot. He mentioned famous people he had known, or once met. He repeated himself, or that's how it seemed. Some girl was once at a party at some rich people's house, and she fell into their aquarium, breaking the glass so that beautiful rare fish and water were all over the floor. This kept happening.

9. Suddenly, the doorbell rang but there was nobody there. It could have been FedEx .

10. Suddenly, he dropped a large knife onto his foot. It cheered him up enormously, as bright raspberry-red blood came out of the wound. He felt like he had survived a fight with a murderer. He was tough. He had been stabbed but he was okay. He laughed out loud. His wife was annoyed at all the blood tracked on the kitchen floor, which as it dried was starting to turn brown. She talked to him in French, which he could not understand. His best friend sat at the coffee table, reading a magazine with great concentration, moving his lips.

11. Suddenly, he decided not to stay in bed anymore, but to lie instead out on the couch. He took over the remote and his wife and best friend now had to watch what he wanted to watch instead of their own favorite shows. But he thought the truth was that he was becoming interested once more in the outside world.

12a. Suddenly, he saw a girl on the television screen with enormous round impressively enhanced breasts, and he ignored his wife's predictably sarcastic comment [which was in French. Something like "Putain!"]. He decided to kick heroin and make porn videos in L.A. He sent his best friend out to buy a bottle of wine, a Merlot, and then later on persuaded his wife to drink some of this, while he heroically delayed his next dose of heroin [for a reason].

12b. Suddenly, he was wrestling with his wife on the couch. She wasn't cooperating, and she was stronger than she looked. "Stop it!" she said, so he did. Then his deaf best friend came in, and his wife wept big wet tears while his deaf best friend said in a loud voice, "SO WE'RE IN LOVE!!!"

13. Suddenly, he was in an automobile. He was a passenger, turning around in his seat to gaze back at where he had been, at the road as it receded behind him, gray, everything was gray, but it gave him a headache to look back like this for very long. It's amazing, how all these people drive their cars around every day without getting in more wrecks.

About the author:

I. Fontana lives in Portland, Oregon and has previously had fiction published in BOMB.