Status: In Progress

Genre: Other


Status: In Progress

Genre: Other


After a rough upbringing, things seemed to be turning around for Landon Stone. He was making it as a musician, just like he’d always dreamed. All seemed to be going well.... that is, until he developed a passionate, tumultuous relationship with heroin. His one true love, and his tragic, possibly fatal flaw.


After a rough upbringing, things seemed to be turning around for Landon Stone. He was making it as a musician, just like he’d always dreamed. All seemed to be going well.... that is, until he developed a passionate, tumultuous relationship with heroin. His one true love, and his tragic, possibly fatal flaw.

Chapter1 (v.1) - Dirt

Author Chapter Note

So here it is. My little side project. Little excerpts of this have been rolling around in my head for some time, so I decided to write it out. And then it got longer and longer, and well, I knew I shouldn't have started it. The subject matter was not a pleasant headspace to be in, though I know it needed to be done.
I expect I'll write three or four more of these between the chapters of Image, because I've been in Riley's head for so long, sometimes I need a little practice in another.
I've never written in third person point of view, I guess because Riley's voice takes precedence in that way. No idea.

So yeah. Here it is. It's messy. The structure isn't great, but I'm trying to tell myself to be okay with it and that this is just a side project/writing exercise.

TW: read at your own discretion, I don't and will never hold back.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: July 06, 2020

Reads: 144

Comments: 6

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: July 06, 2020




Junkhead - Alice in Chains



S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 7


Without opening his sore eyes, Landon's brain sludged into consciousness. And following that consciousness was a swirling vortex of dread that sucked him under as he remembered how low he was on dope. He was fine for now. Well, apart from being massively hungover, but that was a common occurrence. He was young—just turned twenty-one—and strong. Hangovers, he could handle, and it never impacted the unwavering power of his voice when he was on stage the following day.

It was once he ran out that he was really worried about. If he didn't figure something out by then, he'd really be suffering. With a cold fear in his stomach, he thought of kicking. Fortunately, he had only experienced it twice before, but it was horrendous enough for him to ensure it never happened again. It was like the flu, but beefed up on steroids. He remembered it with laser-sharp clarity, and likely always would. He'd forever fear that rhythmic throbbing in his bones, the rawness of his skin that made him visualize it being flipped inside out, and the churning black poison in his stomach that he'd expel miserably for hours and hours until he was drained, weak and dehydrated.

He'd tried to stretch out time between his last few shots, just to play it safe in case he couldn't score immediately. It was hard enough with his manager breathing down his neck and now he was in an unfamiliar setting and without his regular plug. The first time he scored in this place, he'd been swindled out of what little money he had with some expertly crafted phony shit. It was as mind-blowing as it was infuriating. It smelled like dope, it cooked like dope, but when he shot it, he felt nothing. He poked himself several more times until he was bleeding and full of tiny holes, but still, nothing.

He went to his gig like normal that day, silently imploding from the combined effects of the grating music, the constant commotion and the weight of others expectations of him. At one point, he even thought he'd collapse from it. Still, he tried his damndest to hide his sickness though he was certain his bandmates knew. Miles knew for sure, as he had a "thing" for Boy too. He had assured him that he knew a guy around here, and that they'd hit him up. Everything was going to work out. Right?

In the meantime and following one of their small gigs, Landon hooked up with a fan. He didn't even like her. He thought she was a pretentious, status whoring cunt who just wanted the chance to fuck a rockstar for clout. But she was holding dope. He didn't even think she used, and was doing it to lure him in, and he hated that it worked. And when the dope was gone and he was awake again, he felt like a dope whore. He cried alone in his hotel room, silently praying to never hit the point where he'd resort to sucking dick just to maintain his habit.

To top it all off, the band was only just starting to gain momentum and every bit of money he made seemed to go straight to dope, or paying back several IOUs he'd racked up over time. He prioritized those by who was more likely to kick his ass.

He told himself he wanted to be a rockstar, to achieve fame, make great music and live easy, and it really did start out that way, but now his only real goals were solace and numbness.

Why was he like this? Why couldn't he just....stop?

Didn't he always swear he wouldn't be like his old man, and yet, here he was.

Anyway, he really needed this bit of dope to last, so he took a small maintenance shot the night before and bar hopped with his bandmates to take the edge off. Well, his bandmates except for Miles. He actually hadn't seen Miles for several days and started to wonder if he should be concerned.

At the bar, he met a porn director that treated him to a few lines. Landon waited until the dude was too fucked up and distracted and swiped his bag. Then he flipped it for more heroin. He was starting to do things he'd never done before, things he never thought he would do. Stealing, whoring himself out, what was next?

After opening his dry eyes to harsh streams of sunlight, it took him several long seconds to remember where he was and why he was there. The days between gigs had become a blur with few moments of lucidity. This time, there was a full week between them, and once any semblance of structure was taken away from him, all bets were off.

He soon realized he was tangled in the offwhite bedsheets of his hotel room and wasn't sure he wanted to get up. He didn't want to feel the harsh air conditioning on his hypervigilant skin, but he knew he had needs to take care of, obligations to show up to, and people to meet.

Landon sometimes felt disappointed he had woken up at all.

He heard a soft intake of breath, and was so startled he almost shouted out loud. His head spun around to see a gorgeous brunette in his bed, propped up on one elbow and staring at him with slight amusement. "I'm glad you're awake. I was getting really concerned."

He stared at her for a moment as he struggled to remember her through the fog in his throbbing head.

For the life of him, he couldn't remember, but he wished he had, as good looking as she was. All he knew was that he had done a lot. Maybe too much this time. And now he felt like an asshole on top of everything else.

"You don't remember, do you?" She sat up in the bed, the blankets slipping off and revealing her bare tits.

He cleared his throat. "Did we...?"

"—Fuck?" She finished, her full lips curling into a condescending smirk. "Yeah....if you can call three thrusts and you fainting a 'fuck'."

He dropped his head and laughed nervously, feeling his ears go hot. "Shit, that's embarrassing. I'm sorry..."

She slid out of bed and stepped around the room, snatching up pieces of her outfit. "Got anything to eat around here?"

He was mesmerized by the curves and contours of her body for a moment, internally kicking himself for getting too loaded to appreciate it. "If you see anything, be my guest."

As she sauntered over to the fridge, he realized something felt strange and lifted the sheets. Turns out, the latex ring from a broken condom was still wrapped around the base of his cock.

Oh fuck, don't tell me I have get her a pill on top of everything else.

With a muffled snapping sound, he pulled it off and cast it into a garbage can nearby, thinking that he'd make a shit excuse for a father. Much like his own junkie father. It was true as they say, history repeats itself, and that, of course, the apple doesn't fall far from the proverbial tree.

It was his morbid curiosity that brought him here. What was the big deal, anyway? What was good enough to make his dad disappear into the bathroom for hours at a time, and then disappear completely from his life?

Well, he certainly got his fucking answer.

It had become his own ball and chain he dragged around. A rabid dog's teeth clamped around his leg he kept trying to kick off, all in vain. Sobriety was short-lived, and for the sole purpose of lowering his tolerance so he could do it all over again.

"Don't worry," the girl laughed, interrupting his thoughts as she tugged her shirt on and opened the fridge door. "You didn't come."

After she pulled out the other half of a meatball sub and kicked the door closed, she added, "I didn't either, for that matter."

He rubbed his eyes, chuckling with immense relief. "Damn, I suck."

She didn't say anything as she pinched off a few tomato slices and dropped them in the bin. From the way her body turned, he got a glimpse of her pussy and the light brown inverted triangle of her pubic hair. Despite how sick he was feeling, his dick twitched.

With a sly smile, he flipped back her side of the sheets. "I could make it up to you now....if you want..." He wasn't even sure he wanted sex, he just didn't want her to leave yet.

She threw her head back and laughed. "Tempting, but I've got to go."

"Well, I hate to think I gave you a shitty night....is there uh, anything I can do for you?" He groped around the bed for his wallet, scattering the lingering scent of her candy perfume in the process. "Do you need an Uber or something? I could call one for you..." He wasn't even sure he had enough on his card, but it was worth a try.

She frowned as she chewed on the cold lunchmeat. "It wasn't a shitty night. You really don't remember do you?"

He grimaced at her and slowly shook his head.

Strangely unoffended, she set her sub down on the counter. "Okay, picture this, this was our night: You approached me at the bar, we were both really drunk, you introduced yourself as Rick James for some reason. I thought you were really funny and cute. And your voice, wow. I've seen you on stage. You're a badass. Anyway, I agreed to hang with you, you creamed my ass at pool, you treated me to dinner, you kept telling me how pretty I was, how nice I was, we made out, great kisser by the way, even though that half-flaccid fuck was...yeah...but hey, the cuddling was really nice." With her manicured pinky nail, she swiped some red sauce off the corner of her grinning mouth.

The back of Landon's neck flamed. "Oh, yeah, sounds like one for the books all right. Maybe we can meet up again sometime, but I'll cream you in darts instead and I swear I won't have whiskey dick."

He snatched his pack of Marlboro 27s from the bedside table, tugged one out and offered it to her.

She scrunched her face at him as she stepped into her underwear and jeans. The distressed denim was so tight she had to jump a few times to get them up all the way.

"I have to do that dance too." He snickered and lit up. He had five outfits to his name. Two pairs of his jeans that he'd had since high school, he could no longer keep buttoned.

"Smoking is so terrible for you," she scolded as she sucked in her flat stomach and buttoned her jeans.

"Yeah, I know," he said, taking it deep into his lungs, and savoring that sweet burn, that explosion of euphoria lighting up his serotonin depleted brain. "I'm trying to stop. I used to smoke Reds." It was true, he used to smoke much more. It helped curb his appetite when he wasn't able to get food.

As a high school dropout who had also been kicked out of his mom's home due to his "hobbies" and several minor run-ins with the law, he was barely scraping by from the money his band made. He was living off cans of spaghettios, cigarettes, ramen and copious amounts of cheap beer.

He didn't mind the poor lifestyle, but this newfound dope habit was really beginning to make things hard. As time went on, it was becoming less for pleasure and more for sustenance.

Speaking of sustenance, he was really thirsty but too tired to get up. Also, he shot up in his feet and ankles and didn't want her to see, so he resigned to staying in the bed. "So, what do you do for a living?"

She flipped her hair proudly. "I'm in college studying to be a nurse."

"Explains the smoking lectures I guess," he muttered.

She scribbled something on the hotel pad sitting on the counter and walked over to him with a sexy smile on her face.

He looked up at her and smiled warmly as he took it from her. It said "Amber" and her phone number. "I like that name. Amber."

"Yeah, you said that last night. About 36 times."

"Then you know I wasn't just gassing you up." He took another drag off his cigarette and smirked at her as he exhaled, the smoke flowing from his nose. "There's truth in a drunken man's words."

She rolled her eyes and leaned down to give him a kiss. It started as a peck, but progressed into her slipping her tongue in his mouth, and her hands dragging down his chest. She paid some extra attention to his nipples, which he never liked because it tickled him, but he didn't protest.

Still kissing her, he half-blindly stubbed his cigarette out in the glass ashtray atop the bedside table, then he grabbed the back of her head and pressed his tongue against her perfect teeth. With his other hand, he tugged on her elbow, urging her back into bed with him.

"You should ditch," he murmured against her mouth and reached down to unbutton her jeans.

She pushed his hand away. "Can't."

"Why?" He groaned against her perfumed neck, feeling her go soft in his grasp and himself go hard.

"I have...a lesson..." she breathed, running her long nails through his hair in a way that gave him chills.

He lightly dragged his lips up her jawline. "Is it an anatomy lesson? Because you could always do that here....with me...."

"That was corny." She giggled, sliding her hand under the covers and up his thigh. Then she grasped his erection so suddenly and so tightly that it made his breath catch. "Woah. Where was this last night?"

He started to say something, but then she began stroking him and he went blank. Instead, he closed his eyes and let himself drift. "Mmm..."

"Oh, you've got nothing to say now? Where's that razor-sharp wit?" She purred, her hair tickling his ear, her breath fanning hotly on his cheek. His response was his mouth on hers and his hand clutching her ass for dear life. After a minute or two of her steady stroking and his fruitless attempts at undressing her, she abruptly stopped and the firm heat of her fist was replaced with harsh cool air.

Left throbbing and confused, his eyes flashed open to see her backstepping to the door of the hotel room, a villainous sneer stretched across her mouth. She laughed at his dumbfounded expression before he quickly rearranged it into a surly smirk. "Is that your idea of revenge?"

With another gloating grin, she finger-combed her now messy hair. "That's exactly what it is, baby," she said breathlessly. "You blue-balled me first."

He leaned his head back against the headboard with defeat. "Well, I guess you better go get that anatomy lesson then considering you don't have balls."

She rolled her eyes and tucked her tits back into her shirt. "Landon, do me a favor."

"Yeah?" He sighed wearily. What could she ask of him now after such cruelty?

"Stop the drinking. Stop the smoking. And whatever else it is you do."

He snorted and rolled his eyes. "Okay, Amber."

"I'm serious," she said with a stern, motherly look that made his erection deflate like someone pricked it with a pin.

"Yeah, ok," he grumbled and made it a point to grab another cig because he resented the conversation.

She sighed heavily and her eyes glinted with a slight adoration at him that he wasn't sure whether or not he was imagining. "Take care of yourself, Landon." She opened the door.

He lit his cigarette with a hotel match, waved the flame out, and said through the wagging white cylinder, "You too, Amber."

Just before stepping out, she stopped, turned around, and grinned at him. "By the way, it seems it's true what they say about skinny guys."

He paused, his hand holding the cigarette stilling in the air as he raised an eyebrow at her. "What do they say about skinny guys?" Then she closed the door.

He could have as much company as he wanted, but at some point, he had to go back to himself.

That was when those dark clouds rolled in, the thoughts he didn't want to have. The introspective, intrusive ones he had to shove down constantly. The ones that reminded him that he was a junkhead, that he was unloved and unlovable, that the same people he had treated with kindness had used him for their own personal gain, that his parents had abandoned him when he needed them most. He wondered if he was going to struggle financially forever, if he would become fully homeless, and most of all, if he would ever be happy.

He'd nearly mastered his way of not thinking of it at all, but he could only get it to 80% of the time. After mulling a few things over uncomfortably, he smoked some weed and passed out.



He always slept hard at hotels. As a nomadic couch surfer, it was a privilege to sleep on a semi-comfortable mattress between semi-clean sheets.

When he finally woke up, he felt like the chalk outline of a dead body at a crime scene, but with sweat instead of chalk. The aching pain in his bones was so intense, he groaned out loud.

Wincing, he planted his feet on the cold floor. He just had to make it to the bathroom and take a hit. Just ten, maybe fifteen steps. That was all.

Even that proved to be too much. The moment he pushed himself off the bed, excruciating pain stabbed him in the stomach, doubling him over. With his arm wrapped around himself, he stumbled to the bathroom, but another intense stab of pain a thousand times worse sent him scrambling to the kitchen sink instead. He puked up stringy, yellow bile, heaving so forcefully that it splashed back into his face. Groaning inwardly, he puked more from disgust, noisily gasping for breath in between retches. When there was nothing left, his sore stomach kept clenching with dry heaves, and for a fleeting moment he thought he was going to shit himself from sheer force of it.

When it finally stopped, he trembled over the sink with tears streaming down his face, too weak to move.

How'd he get here? It had been so unbelievably good for a while, but now he was just miserable and puking in his own face.

Dope had turned out to be a real vengeful bitch, making sweet love to him for months just to turn around and bite him in the ass, again and again.

In a way, it made sense that something that felt so mind blowingly amazing would make him feel like death once it was out of his system. It was Newton's law. But all the same, even knowing how horrible the withdrawals were, he would do it all again and again. It defied reason.

That knowledge in itself was terrifying, and the only thing that would help him feel better right now was some dope.

Landon splashed his face and rinsed his mouth before heading to the restroom. His body wracked with tremors as he stepped inside the harshly lit room, squinting his bloodshot eyes. He made an extreme effort not to see his reflection as he reached into his bag for his supplies and tied himself off with his belt. He smacked his bicep repeatedly to make his veins stand out, usually, they did on their own but he was sure he was dehydrated. He tried not to do his arms, he usually did his feet and legs so he could hide it more easily, but right now he couldn't give a fuck. His vision had become so clouded that he missed the vein several times, his growing frustration making him shake even worse than he already was.

Finally, he thought he was in, but there was no blood return when he pulled the plunger back.

Thoroughly annoyed with his fumbling, he pulled it out to try again. Then came the knocking on the door, and he froze in place.

It couldn't be the maid. He'd left the do not disturb sign hanging on the knob.

"Landon!" A muffled and unfortunately, recognizable feminine voice called from outside the hotel room. "Landon!"

Are you shitting me?!

He ignored her for a moment, thinking about taking the shot, but he wanted to be alone and not under any sort of pressure when he was doing it. It had become a ritual for himself, something that demanded silence and peace, so he decided to shoot once he got her to leave.

Muttering a colorful streak of profanities to himself, he pulled on a pair of boxers from the dresser and peered into the peephole. "Hey Angie. What, uh, brings you here?"

The giant-headed, fishbowl image of her went red in the face. "Are you joking? Is that a joke?"

He stepped back. "A joke?"

"Open the door, Landon."

He unlocked it and opened it just enough for her to see one big blue eye.

She crossed her arms. "What are you doing? Why are you being weird?"

"I'm... not decent." He shuffled from one foot to the other, unable to get comfortable no matter how he stood.

"Are you kidding me? Have you forgotten what today is?"

"The seventeenth?" He guessed. He was certain before, but her anger said otherwise.

Angie sighed heavily, closed her eyes, and pinched the bridge of her nose. "No, Landon. It's the eighteenth."

Did I sleep an ENTIRE FUCKING day? The sudden intensity of his sickness made sense now.

"Oh, God. Oh, fuck. I'm so sorry—" He wiped the sweat sliding down his forehead with the back of his hand and a shadow of concern swept over Angie's frustrated expression. "What's wrong with you? Why are you sweating like that?"

He wet his lips nervously and tried to hold her gaze. "I drank a little too much last night. Me and Tequila don't get along so well."

The dark bag beneath one of her eyelids twitched rapidly. "You better not be trying to get out of this. They can't perform without you, Landon. You are the band. Everyone's waiting for you."

His gaze slipped away from hers and fixed on the restroom in his hotel room. "Just let me get dressed and I'll meet you downstairs." He began to swing the door closed, but she jammed her red heel between the door and frame.

"No way. You're very late. Just put on some clothes and come out now."

He clenched and unclenched his teeth with controlled frustration. "We're gonna have to stop anyway because I need the restroom, so you might as well let me go now."

She rolled her eyes. "It can't wait till you get there?"

"No, it can't," he responded flatly.

"Landon, if you're in there more than five minutes, I swear to god...."

"Five minutes, that's all." He slammed the door and flipped the lock.

"Why are you locking the door?"

"Because I'm not dressed!" He exploded, throwing his arms like an irate gorilla. "Chill the fuck out, Angie."

"Chill out? I've had to drag all of you out of bed this morning. I'm not hired to be your babysitter."

Then I'll fucking fire you and you won't have to babysit anymore. How's that? His teeth chattered loudly as he approached the dresser beside the door and yanked it open. He only had one clean outfit left out of the five he owned and it included the pair of jeans that no longer buttoned. Fucking whatever. He fumbled getting into his clothes, the muscle, and bone pain combined with his guilt making it all the more difficult.

With desperation, he rushed to the bathroom and tied himself off again until his bicep was bulging and red. He didn't know if it was adrenaline from rushing or what, but he had no problems now.

Once he was done, he unwrapped the belt from his arm, letting it clatter to the linoleum floor, and slumped against the door frame. He would allow himself this brief moment for the rush to hit. After about three seconds, he tasted the bitterness in the back of his throat, a prelude to the rush. And then after six more seconds, the incredible, comforting heat flooded his entire body, the relief making his eyelids droop shut. Finally, the raw ache in his bones and stomach stopped, the rapid firing pinwheels in his head slowed, and just like that, he felt like he could get through the day.

God, if only he could experience it as a virgin again. He was constantly, obsessively chasing that feeling the first time he mainlined. He did it with his girlfriend at the time and remembered throwing up everywhere as soon as it hit the vein. He felt so amazing, he didn't even care, he just fell to his knees with relief. This was what he had been looking for. What he'd been missing.

Yeah, nothing ever came close to the first time. If he had to compare it to something, the only thing that came slightly close was the first time he jerked off to climax as a young teen. That initial sense of wonder at his body's newfound capabilities. He couldn't have imagined something could feel better than that serotonin explosion. But there it was, a feeling that started as an orgasm times a million and ended with every negative emotion he ever felt dissolving away like ashes caught in a gust of wind.

Everything would be okay. Everything would be okay.

He dawdled for a moment, all urgency left him as he brushed his teeth, and popped a piece of candy in his mouth to help the dryness.

With a pound on the door, he heard Angie ask, "Landon? Are you brushing your teeth?"

She's listening? What the fuck? He laughed quietly to himself and flushed the toilet for the sake of being convincing. Then he hid his cottons, spoon, and picked up the belt from the floor. He fed it through his pant loops, though they were already too tight. It served two functions: a tie-off and a cover up for his unbuttoned jeans. Lastly, he sprayed himself with cologne—he knew cigarette smell lingered and hated to think he stunk—folded up his tiny bag of Black Tar and tucked a fresh syringe into his worn converse.

When he opened the door, Angie was glaring at him. "That was definitely more than five minutes."

He bit his lip to hide his goofy grin and stepped out, closing the door behind him. "Sorry." He felt like he was constantly apologizing and he did mean it.....most of the time. Did it mean he would change though? Probably not.

As they began walking, she was staring up at him suspiciously. "Why is your face all red?"

"You just make me blush sometimes, Ang," he replied without missing a beat and pushed on his sunglasses to hide his dope eyes.

She let out a harsh laugh. "You're stupid."

Once they got to the elevator, Angie pressed the elevator button to the first floor. Landon scratched an itch on the bridge of his nose and pulled his pack of cigs from his back pocket. Then he offered Angie a joint he had tucked in the box, his way of silently telling her to chill out.

Her mouth dropped open and she smacked him across the shoulder. "Are you out of your mind?! You did not just try to offer me marijuana."

He snickered and put it away, noticing from the corner of his eye that she was smiling.

Her eyes briefly flickered down to the cig packet in his jeans. "What strain is it?"

Caught completely off guard, Landon blinked at her. "Sour diesel, I think."

She shook her hair and tipped her chin up. "Hmm. I don't like hybrid strains."

Landon snorted and clamped a hand over his mouth.

Her head whipped around to glare at him. "What?"

"Nothing," he said in a muffled voice and shook his head, still trying to hide his inappropriately excessive laughter. He didn't want to tip her off that he was high, but it was a struggle to hide the buoyancy he felt inside.

When they got to the Uber van outside the hotel, Landon nearly froze when he saw Miles. He was leaning his head against the window, his arm wrapped tightly around his stomach. His gray face was shiny with sweat and he looked like he was seconds from vomiting.

From beside him, Owen was visibly straining away with his nose scrunched up.

"Sorry for keeping you waiting, guys," Landon said as he slipped into his chair beside Brent. Angie slid into the passenger seat and informed the drive they were running a bit late.

"It's alright, man," Brent consoled with a hard thwack between Landon's shoulders. "I'll ask you this though. How did you get pussy with an ugly mug like that, but I didn't?"

Landon cackled and slid the door closed. "Fuck you."

When the van started moving, Miles moaned quietly and despite his inebriated state, Landon began to worry. The heroin didn't work the way it used to, and the bad effects were starting to outweigh the good. Especially because he hadn't taken huge hits for fear of the kick. At least it still took his sickness away, for now. For now, he wasn't like Miles.

If Miles has a connect, why is he so fucking sick?

He wished he could get him alone, but it seemed he'd have to wait until they arrived.

"Hey, Angie, how far is it?" Landon called to the front seat, managing a calm tone despite the trepidation he was feeling inside.

"Thirty-eight minutes, Landon. Surprised you care, considering your lateness." In the reflection of the rearview mirror, her ivy colored eyes narrowed beneath furrowed brows. "Miles, are you all right?"

"Yeah," Miles croaked and Landon almost flinched. "Just hungover."

Beside him, Owen cracked the window and pulled the collar of his t-shirt over his nose. "Yeah, and apparently something crawled up his ass and died."

"You don't always smell like roses, Owen," Landon reminded him, turning to stare out the window in hopes it would take his mind far away from here. This may be his second to last shot before he went through withdrawals and he was trying to enjoy it.

"I'm not trying to be a dick," Owen's muffled voice complained. "but I'm hungover too and trying not to hurl, but it's making it hard when he keeps farting like that."

"What?" The heavyset driver asked angrily, straining her neck to see them in the back. "You better not puke in my car!"

She shot Angie a look. "They're farting in my car?! On my upholstery?! Body stuff is where I draw the line."

"No, no!" Angie exclaimed frantically, waving her hands. "They're just kidding. They just have a strange sense of humor." She laughed nervously before she whipped her head around to face the backseat, her face warping into a murderous glare as she jabbed a threatening finger at them that said it all.

Brent looked at Landon and covered his mouth to hide his laughter, and in return, Landon allowed himself a small smirk to hide his growing concern.


The stage was planted in the middle of a park the size of a football field and the late summer air was unbearably muggy and smelly from the wasted college kids in the audience. Silent Hell was opening for a band called The Asthmatics, so naturally, he and his bandmates ribbed them by hacking and wheezing whenever they crossed paths. He hoped one day to headline, to not have to open for a band named after a health condition. From backstage, Landon found himself digging the music anyway, lazily nodding his head along to the rhythm, probably because he was still pretty high. Just minutes before they were set to go on, Miles suddenly barreled from backstage and down the steps.

Angie threw up her arms and turned to Landon. "Oh, for God's sake. Landon, go get your friend."

Reluctantly, Landon trailed behind him, hearing Angie mutter, "One of these days, these boys are going to give me a goddamn aneurysm."

He struggled to keep his eyes open and alert, so it took him a minute or two to find Miles in the crowd of rowdy, pushing college kids. Did they think that's what moshing was?

Finally, he spotted a hunched over figure next to a portapotty. Seems he didn't quite make it. Landon quietly stepped beside Miles as he vomited in the grass, barely able to catch a breath between heaves just like him earlier. After a moment or two, Landon reached down to awkwardly pat his back. "Hey, brother...." He tried not to show how revolted he was from the combined smell of Miles' sickness and the portapotty nearby, but his eyes began to water. "You're kicking pretty bad, huh?" Miles wasn't able to answer.

A drunk frat boy with a slight beer gut stopped in his tracks to stare at them. When he didn't move along, Landon felt the need to defend his friend.

"Aye!" He snapped. "The fuck you lookin' at?"

"Just stop it," Miles groaned, wiping the snot from his face with the inside of his shirt.

"Chode's got a staring problem," Landon mumbled half unintelligibly and lit up a cigarette. He took several deep pulls, hotboxing it until he buzzed so hard his mouth watered and he swayed from lightheadedness. "What happened to your connect, man? I thought you were good." He tried to hide the desperation in his voice.

Miles rose to his feet so unsteadily, Landon had to help him up. "He's dead."


"He's fucking dead." Miles wiped the back of his wrist across his mouth. "He od'ed a few days ago..."

Landon swallowed hard, feeling the color drain from his face. "Fuck....I....I don't know what to say..."

Miles suddenly clutched him by the jacket, tears welling in his bloodshot eyes, turning them a bleary, miserable green. He didn't seem to care if people were looking at him at this point. "I feel like I'm fucking dying. Please. You've got to help me. I want to fucking die."

A lump formed in Landon's throat and he struggled to clear it. His lips parted with words he held back because he knew he still had this one shot left, but he had saved it for himself. Behind his sunglasses, his dope eyes lazily shifted around, unable to take the pain in his friend's eyes or he would give it up.

Miles shook him slightly. "Please tell me you have something. Anything!"

Before he could think it over any longer, Landon nodded. "Yeah, I got you, man."

"Thank you so much," Miles croaked with emotion. "You have it on you?" His desperate eyes swept him over.

Silently, Landon checked for wandering eyes before he bent down and removed it from his shoe. Then he got back up and placed his rig and baggie into Miles' trembling hand.

"I don't know what we're going to do after this," Miles murmured with relief.

"Don't worry," Landon replied. "We'll figure something out."

To himself, Landon worried what lengths he would go to provide for himself and his friend this time.

Minutes later, Miles was fine as they got onstage and Landon sang of the agony he felt every day. There was something therapeutic in it, like he was bleeding it out onstage. Yes, it was therapeutic, but not more than dope of course. Nothing topped it, and he knew nothing ever would.


© Copyright 2020 Megan Mackenzie. All rights reserved.


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