Drugs Or Me

“You did what?”

“I ate mushrooms last night with a group of people. It was pretty groovy.”

“Aren’t you pet sitting for Mom?”

“Yeah, we’re all over here.”

“Who is all?”

He rattled off the names and she listens for the one she knows she will hear. When the name slips she remembers the single time in high school when she garnered more than a grunt from the male name in question–she had snatched his fitted hat off his head and tried to wedge it onto hers, but it was summer and her hair was frizzy and matted and his head was low-key just about the size and shape of a shrunken head placed on a mantle for ritual sacrifice in the Caribbean. Hence, the fitted just pulled up her forehead and in a chain reaction raised her nostrils like a pig, and between wearing an old stained wifebeater and a pig-like aesthetic plastered on her face, the look of disgust from the live-shrunken head was apparent. He grabbed the hat back and nestled it on his own head.

She understood that disgust, though. She didn’t even hold it against him. What she never understood was how the Shrunken Head literally didn’t speak. A brick garnered a more nuanced personality than this sack and the only time she ever heard of any degree of passion from the Shrunken Head on any facet of life was when she heard through the grapevine that he met someone in prison who sent him to New York to buy heroin and Shrunken Head got robbed for three grand.

“It was a super groovy, the right mix of people, we had fun, I can’t sleep, I wanted to talk to my sister, that’s why I called last night.”

She’s snapped back into the moment and the appropriate mix of disappointment, regret, empathy and disgust flow like a spigot turned upright. It’s 11 AM. She hasn’t even washed her face yet or put on a shirt, all of the folds in her skin are sweaty in the Southern humidity and the only thing she can think about is the pristine nature of her mother’s home–beds always made, Glade plug-in scents, no lingering smells of cat piss, hallways not stuffed with boxes and trash and mementos of the past. She can understand how it would be a nice place to get fucked up like that.

Her brother is twenty six. He ate mushrooms when he was sixteen. A decade has gone by and history hasn’t rewritten itself. She can’t even talk too much shit–she’s eaten mushrooms plenty of times, too. But it’s been years and years. She researches candidates for mayor in the local election now. She contemplates inflated property values of houses, checks out books from the library, cleans her kitchen, volunteers at a local cat shelter and what does he do?

Mushrooms with a thirty year old Shrunken Head and Friends sprawled around her mother’s house, trying to rewrite their own histories in their mind until the high wears off the the heartbeat slows and they pack into each others cars and drive back to the homes they all wish they could rewrite–or erase–on their own.


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