A Girl Named Sue

Jogging one morning, Sue spots a C-note under a bench. What's a girl to do, she thinks, laughing as she sprints up the enbankment to Riverside Drive and flags down a cab. Luck's on her side because the cabby can break the bill.

At 125th she gets out. Of course the pushers are out. She's quite a sight in the 'hood (sans neighbor), sweaty white girl in shorts and T-shirt carrying a walkman, face as red as a burnt junkie's eyes. But the dealers don't blink twice. They know who's hip and who's a pigeon. Junk knows junk.

Sue scores a bag of C and one of H, asks the man where to get some works. He directs her to a shooting gallery on Amsterdam. Taking her for a sucker, man there says five bucks per set. Sue smirks and holds out a single smackeroo, suddenly more sure of herself than ever before. He concedes, offers her a place to fix. She declines, catches a cab home.

Inside Sue's mom calls out, "Have a nice run, honey?"

"Best ever," she replies, runs down the hall to the kitchen, grabs a spoon, glass of water, matches, then retreats to the bathroom. Turning on the shower to mask the unmistakable sound of dope, she cooks up the H. It's been two years, but she knows the signs of good stuff: dissolves quickly into a consistent shade of light brown. When the solution cools, she sprinkles in the C. Tearing off a small scrap of toilet paper, she creates a tiny cotton ball between two fingers, still slightly sweaty, and gently drops it in. Fills the set and uses her bathrobe belt to tie up.

Sue could never fix easily herself, but this time she finds a vein immediately and injects the sweet poison into her blood.

The hit comes on slow: first the C at the back of the throat, then the brain sparks like fireflies on a hot summer night. The H starts in the backs of the legs and languidly travels upwards until everything's swimming. Sue sprawls out on the cool white tiles of the floor, tasting the sentient air that surrounds her like honey.

She has one thought: if there's a better high no one knows 'cause god's kept it to himself in heaven.

About the author:

Sarah M. Balcomb spends much of her day writing. At other times, Sarah wonders if it would all be different if she were instead named Ramona.