For the sleepless, every night is a struggle. Your personal remedy is almost ready.
The Self Medicated Live Longer
If we can sleep without dreaming, it is well that painful dreams are avoided. If, while we sleep, we can have any pleasing dreams, it is as the French say, tant gagne, so much added to the pleasure of life.
. . .
It wasn’t long before I decided to just give up. I thought I might need to check myself into the nearest clinic or face the fact that I’ll be chasing the night until the lights finally go out. But now, I think I found a cure.
It was already July. I feel like I haven’t closed my eyes once. This kind of insomnia is not for the brave or the strong, or the night-owls. It’s like a drug-fueled absence or a mania that seems the last longer than anything ever should. I hardly remember I’m awake. But when the Sun peeks over to stare at my hollow eyes, It feels toxic. There really is only one thing that can help me.
None of this is my fault. People like us rarely feel anything can be done at all. I’ll take a handful of pills, maybe I’m asleep for 3 hours. It’s been like that for a while. I’m not dying, but I’m not living. I need a taste of my own medicine.
Earlier this week I had a run-ins with people just as demented as myself. It’s always reassuring to see the ill. Complexions like broken mirrors. Eyes likes burnt out light bulbs. One of the narcs, two weeks ago, gave me a list. He said these guys cater to help those who can’t help themselves anymore.
Many like me, are always on the hunt to find some peace. Our inner cyclones like to wreck havoc. Hellbent to run us over, looking to take hold. When we want to fight back, it’s like punching shadows. You start to think nothing can make you whole again.
I called one of the alchemists each week. Dropped off what they needed for the treatment. Usually behind dive bars and shady businesses. I meet these slingers once and never see them again. This time, I found a new guy at this bar up the road. I had been up for 3 days and I’ll still wide awake.
This place was situated near an alcove under a lottery billboard. Next to that, another about a specific nutrient for better immuno-health. You’d think it doesn’t take much to get better. Usually just a better outlook or luck. I’m underestimating both of those things. And as it goes, it’s the things I need most. I can do without the lotto ticket, though.
I got to the location I was told. The faded blue and green neon sign reads ‘Second Chances’. I’d never seen it before. But then again, how often do you find where you’re going when you’ve never been there in the first place?
It had begun to rain slightly as I walked up to the front door. A shoddy wooden plank, likely found in a scrap yard. My kind of place alright.
I breezed in, looking around. Hanging green lamps, red plastic seating, and what looked like a large counterfeit Jackson Pollock painting behind the bar. I’m not an artist. Drawing the blinds doesn’t count.
The place was mostly dead. Maybe a half dozen low life's. A group of three business jerks at a corner table, a tattered-looking fella at the end of the bar, and an older grey-haired gal smoking a long cigarette, chatting to a man with dark sunglasses and a cane. And now, here I come looking like a run-away greaser. Best place as any.
”What’ll it be tonight stranger?” The bartender asked.
”I’m just looking for your guy in the back.” I asked with a look of an addled detective.
”You look like you just got hit by a car,” he looked closer at my dour complexion. “ How long have you gone without a fix?”
”I’m just here for my stuff, man,” I said sliding him a folded ten dollar bill across the bar.
”Take a seat, friend,” he pointed to a faux red leather seat. “Let me go talk to Al.”
I waited at the table, moving my thumbs back and forth, thinking all the while, that I must be crazy to get addicted these treatments. I really have no where else to turn. No one should have to be a victim of their own brain, let alone themselves.
I heard footsteps come around behind me. I turned my head slowly like a sloth eyeing fruit off a tree.
“Here are your pills, narc. Why can’t you go to a doctor for this stuff?” The scarred faced man looked done with me.
”This shit is basically free. No one asks why, I just get the solution I need,” I said lazily.
The bartender asked, “This is just dope, isn’t?”
“It’s actually a part of myself,” I replied grabbing a straw from the condiment caddy, tearing off an end.
“Excuse me?” The bartender shot back.
“Your man in the back, he sees people like me all the time. There are many more like him. Goers and comers, depressives and manics. We all need that something that can make us whole again. Well, some genius found out that what the ill really need is. . . more of themselves.”
“What are you talking about, fella?” He looked around the bar to make sure no one was stealing drinks. He crossed his arms and leaned in a bit.
I went on: “Yeah. I give your guy some organic part of myself. Maybe a piece of flesh or some perspiration. I usually just have one recipe. Other narcs, might need a handful of fixes. He decomposes it, mixes it in with some desirable pharmaceuticals, and puts it in a blender. So I can close my eyes, fall into a coma, a metamorphosis, and try to smile as I fade away. It’s that sweet.”
I raised the straw up to my mouth and blew the wrapper off. Watching the paper glide to the floor.
“That’s something you never hear everyday. A miracle drug made of you. Maybe I want some of that,”
He looked almost happy for me.
“I got to get back, kid. Nice to hear there is still some hope for some people.”
I got up from the red faux booth slowly. I stashed the pills in my pocket, and straightened my jacket’s back collar.
“Saving yourself isn’t easy,” I said staring at the vile.
It grew a bit louder as some couples came to sit at the bar. The business jerks got up tossed some money on the table and left smiling, happy, and drunk off their asses. They exited and one guy yells to the empty streets:
“I could go all night!”
I look on, shake my head and start to walk to the door.
”Tell, Al back there, thanks,” I said feeling reassured.
The bartender got back to the bar, stood behind it and started to dry some glasses.
“Good Luck, kid. Easy on those tranquilizers,”
I looked over at the man I saw earlier with the dark sunglasses. Then back at the bartender.
”The thing about sleep,” I said zipping up my jacket,”is that we’re all chasing that perfect feeling. Hoping to awaken better than when we closed our eyes. Have a good night, bartender.”
I opened the wooden door, stepped out and looked out at the empty streets. Nights like these, when the Moon is as bright the Sun, no one feels like themselves. We spin and spin, toss and turn, only to awake again and again. I’ll be able to rest this time. After all, I can take myself again, and I’m a tough pill to swallow.