You came home after the gig with the treble still ringing in your head, the screams of the roaring crowd—your fans. You went right to the kitchen and opened the fridge door; the light lit up the stainless steel space like an open backstage door lighting up an alley at night. In the freezer there was a bottle of Bombay Sapphire so you took it out, uncapped it, and took a swig of the slippery juniper.
Pretty soon, you were lighting candles in your loft—shadows stark against the white walls. Then you sat down on your white suede loveseat. You lit a Gauloise with one of the candles, and while you smoked you took out your rose straight-shooter from the coffee table drawer. From your cargo shorts you pulled out a crunched ball of aluminum foil—hits that Jimmy the bassist gave you, flecks of sea salt, slightly beige on white—and you dropped a few into the brillo end of the pipe, milking it over the candle flame; then you took a pull, exhaled, and sat back to take in the coast.
After a while, you lit another cigarette. Then the gin gave you the idea of calling her. There was no way she was going to come over—long, chestnut hair, green eyes, smell of ambergris, clean, asleep on her sky blue pillow. “She fucking works in the morning, asshole,” you said aloud. Your shadow listened to you.
When the bottle emptied, the summer sun was already coming up so you drained a couple of espressos and composed two new drum pieces into your voice recorder; Marty’s prog song about bats or swamps or whatever needed a few 6/8 fills, and Jed wanted you to come up with a cymbal rhythm to go with his new 12-string deal about a succubus or something-or-other for the recording session. It was important that you do your homework since you missed the last two meetings.
“Looks like tomorrow won’t happen,” you said to the night, as you cooked your last bit of rock. Light started filling your loft: white walls with three of her paintings—one of a terrible, yellow hound tearing itself apart, surrounded with the carcasses of bloody hares. You remembered Adèle, the girl who had called you during the gig, traced back her number on your cell and rang her. She had chestnut hair and green eyes—like hers.
“Hello,” Adèle said, just waking up.
“It’s Angel,” you said.
“Tabarnac. You must be having some kind of night.”
“You want some of it?”
“Sure,” she said. “Where are you?”
You told her your address on Laurier West, and that the doorman would let her in.
There were hours before the liquor store was to open for more gin, so you loaded up your Faema again. You got out the unopened Crown Royal XR from its velvet bag, and poured some into a cup, with a shot of coffee.
Some head and joint pain started rolling in, and you wanted her badly. You knew that if you could get off, you’d feel better, so you called her again.
“Where are you?” you said.
“I’m in a cab.”
“Do you have anything with you?”
“What do you mean, anything?”
“I mean drugs.”
“I’ve got some OCs.”
You hung up and did a few sets of pushups and a little jog around the loft before getting some porn up on your laptop and pulling open your ragged trousers to prime for a bit. That’s what you were doing when she knocked.
Zipping up, sweating, you opened the door. Somehow your shirt was off.
“Me voici,” said Adèle, raising her arms up like ta-da, an overnight bag over her shoulder. You grabbed her and kissed her with tongue. She tongued you back and grabbed your crotch. “You really want it, don’t you?” she said.
“Guh,” you said.
Adèle looked at you for a moment as you groped her. “First,” she said, “get me some of whatever you’re having.”
In the kitchen you fired up a few more scotch coffees. She came in to watch, caressing the tat on your wet shoulder. “Who’s Cassandra?” she said.
“Gimme a coupla OCs,” you said. She opened her overnight bag and produced two green pills. You dropped them with straight Crown.
On your king-size leather bed, she was gliding her tongue up and down until you came. She licked it off your groin and drank it. “Make me come,” she said. She pulled herself open, and her clit was swollen and ready.
“Grab my hair and look at me,” you said. “Try and keep your eyes open.”
That’s what she always did.
You started lapping at Adèle and she said, “Uh” and “Huh” a few times. Then she closed her eyes and came, convulsing, which is when you reached under the bed and brought the machete down hard onto her chest. There were four more blows of the blade, with her a screeching rat, her blood spraying up onto your face, pooling on the bed and floor.
You watched her wheeze out her final breath then closed your eyes and thought about whether or not you owned a mop.
“Are you okay?” Adèle spoke. You opened your eyes and saw her lying open- legged before you.
“Yeah,” you said. “I’m just fucked.”
“It’s okay,” Adèle said. “I’m almost there. Finish me off.”
You finished her off and she rolled over on her side, almost asleep, but you got hard again and so took her, kneeling. Seeing her whole body beneath you, and with her eyes open to look up at you, she said “Fuck it into me, Angel. Yeah.” You felt the welling triumph of it and came again.
In the shower you took a whore’s bath because you didn’t feel like getting your long, blonde hair wet. Then you stood at your bay window naked, looking down on the Montreal dawn. A homeless man threw a garbage can at a boutique window, cracking it. You watched him walk away as he cursed the world. “I don’t give a fuck,” you said to your reflection, and went to look for some booze. There was none, so you walked over to the loveseat. You took two more OCs out of Adèle’s overnight bag and popped them; she was curled up under your covers as you dressed and walked out the front door.
“Good morning, Mister Haven,” the doorman said as you entered the lobby. Ignoring him, you took the stairs into the parking garage. Jingling the keys to your rifle-green Mustang, you got inside and gunned it awake, then cruised out into the morning.
It read 6:53am on the dash and you thought that maybe a store would sell you some beers. Then you remembered that it was Sunday. You scrolled through your address list. “I’ll try Gary,” you said to the rearview.
Gary’s suburban bungalow was a half-hour drive away in Pointe-Claire; the Mustang got you there in twenty minutes—just enough time for you to blast the entirety of Rush’s Fountain of Lamneth. You used to play Peart’s parts in Gary’s basement.
It was the same old ding-dong doorbell from when you were kids. The same old maple branches hanging over the doorway. “Christ,” Gary said, seeing you. “My wife and kids are still asleep.”
“Just some gin,” you said. “And if you have any white.”
“I don’t got any fuckin’ white,” Gary whispered. “For fucksakes.”
You pulled out your wad of bills and peeled off a few hundreds, then held them out until Gary took them. He came back with a nearly full bottle of Tanq. “Now get outta here.”
“You’ve changed, man,” you said. “You always had some shit.”
“Not any more, ya fuckin’ low-life,” Gary said.
You hold out your whole wad—at least three grand. “Got anything else?”
He stared at it for a minute. “Know what? Yeah, sure. Ya want some Dilaudid? It’s been here since my wife went into remission.
“I’ll take them off your hands,” you said.
He went to get them and took the money. “Andrew,” he said. “You really shouldn’t be driving.”
“Makes no difference, Gare” you said. “Understand?” Gary didn’t say anything. “But thanks for caring,” you said.
“I care about my family now,” Gary said, handing you the pill bottle. He closed the door.
On the way back to the Mustang you swigged down two Big-Ds with Tanq, then drove off listening to Lamneth all over again.
Not far from your old hood in Pierrefonds (which means ‘rock-bottom’) was the quarry: a massive gravel and sand crevasse made by dynamite. Even though it had become a landfill, you drove up to the gate. You got out and immediately smelt the garbage, already cooking in the sun. The gate had the rusty padlock on it that never fully locked; you pulled it off, opened the gate and drove the Mustang through.
The hole reeked of sewers and sulfur. Hundreds of seagulls squawked and fought over hunks of rotting garbage. You tried to stifle the stench with more gin, but the smell kept creeping into your nostrils. After a few more Big-Ds, everything got hazy, so you stretched out on the ground beside a bag of used diapers.
A prod in the ribs woke you up; there were two kids staring at you: a tall redhead and a short Asian. The redhead held an old broomstick out in front of him, not wanting you to get too close. You stood up and made your way over to the car to piss behind it, where they couldn’t see you. As you were undoing your trousers, you discovered that you had already pissed yourself. It didn’t matter; you needed to go again.
“Nice car,” the redhead kid said.
“You can have it,” you said, and tossed him the keys with your free hand. He caught them, sporting a grin wider and eyes bigger than anything you’d seen in a long time.
“Willy, you can’t drive,” said the Chinese kid.
“Shut up, Amos,” said the redhead, opening the driver’s door. The Chinese kid waited until you finished pissing, then came around to the passenger side.
You started walking toward the gate. “Thanks, Mister,” shouted the redhead after rolling down the window. You lifted an arm and waved goodbye without looking back.
Out in the street, you tried to get your bearings. The reek of the quarry was in your clothes and hair. Your senses were dull from the booze and pills. Your head and your throat ached for a cigarette.
Cars drove by until there was a West Island Co-Op cab with Arab driver. He took you in and you told him where to go. “I have no money,” you said.
The Arab eyed you in the rearview. “You have bank card?” he said.
You felt your wallet through your piss-soaked pants. “Yeah,” you said.
“We’ll stop at bank first,” he said.
You don’t remember how you got back to your place—though you have a vague memory of sharing a cigarette with the Arab after giving him some money. The doorman must have let you in.
For her payment, Adèle had taken your Bonham-signed drumsticks and your laptop. ‘Thanks for the good time. A.’ said a note on the kitchen counter. She had left the door open to make it look like robbery.
“You’re out of the fucking band,” said Jed on your phone message. There were others on there: “Where are you?” your mom said, “You have your father and I worried sick”; “We just heard from Gary,” your old man said, “Whatever the Hell you think you’re doing, knock it off.”; “Mr. Havenovic, we found your vehicle,” the policeman said, “Call us as soon as you receive this message.”
Then there was a message from her. “It’s me,” Cassandra said. “Your mom just called me, asking if I’d seen you. Call me back, if you can. Bye.”
You went over to the bay windows to look out at the night. Western clouds were just starting to sift from orange to purple.
Your cell rang. Without looking at the caller, you switched off the ringer and went into the kitchen. You lit up the dark with fridge light, and pushed aside some old bread to find a fresh beer; you pulled it out, cracked it open, closed the door, and took a good hit in the dark.
Tomorrow would be morning again.
BIO : Born and raised in Montreal, Canada, Adam Kelly Morton has been sober for almost nine-and-a-half years. He is an acting teacher, filmmaker, playwright, gamer, writer, husband, and father of three (all under four, so his life is fucking insane). He is editor-in-chief of The Bloody Key Society Periodical literary magazine. He has been published in Open Pen London, Danforth Review, Urban Graffiti, Mulberry Fork Review, and Menda City Review, among others.