remorse is her word of honor
The familiar taste of hot vomit was creeping up her throat again, but she swallowed it down effortlessly. Every last type of alcohol in the room was in her stomach, broiling to the rhythm of Rip Her to Shreds that threatened to blow the speakers out. Blow was lingering in her system too, but barely so.
It was 1981 in New York City, and the velour felt so good against her body stocking.
Another bump sounded like a nice idea. She hopped off the gold sofa, knocking down all the glasses and bottles that littered the floor. Her black stilettos were perfect for kicking the junk to make way for her new favorite habit. She swayed across the stained carpet as if she were tiptoeing on clouds, slipping in and out of sync with Debbie Harry’s vicious vocals.
All the squat was her stage, and all the riot boys and girls merely players.
She targeted the poser with the rich parents, zooming in on his scrawny figure slouched against the wall. The only reason he was accepted there was obvious. His gaze darted fervently from one side of the room to the other as he wiped the blend of snot and crystal residue from his nostrils.
“Hey, loser, get over here,” she bellowed in his face, violently tugging his shirt until his chapped lips were less than an inch away from her red mouth.
Her hands began exploring his body salaciously, nails digging into his clothes to feel her way towards the prize. His pupils dilated to the point that it seemed as if he had two black saucers instead of eyes, in a queasy mix of lust and paranoia.
She reached into his pants pocket and pulled out the baggie she was looking for. After flashing him an ironic smile, she shoved him back on the wall and tripped over another round of bottles to get as far away from him as she could. His mouth gaped in disbelief as he watched her make off with the last of his stash.
Flinging herself back on the gold velour couch, she struggled to contain her ecstasy as she ripped the top off the plastic bag. She slid the black glove off her hand, revealing the only gear she would need. The long nail on her pinky finger was perfect for shoveling out a generous amount of the fine, pre-ground powder. Before she even got the chance to blink, the blow was out of the bag and up her nose.
The snort was long and deep, and would have been loud as fuck if Black Flag weren’t blaring from all angles. It was all satisfying beyond measure. She had lost count of how many lines she had done that night. It’s not as if it mattered anyway.
In a moment of pure serendipity, her favorite band came on just after the euphoria finished kicking in. Dead Boys made her leap to her feet in a heartbeat.
Multiple heartbeats, actually.
Her heart beat faster and faster, eclipsing the high-energy bpm of her soundtrack. Her vision got blurrier and blurrier. Her face sweatier and sweatier. Arms shakier and shakier. She felt like she was about to throw up, pass out, go blind, and have a heart attack all at the same time.
She was dying, or it sure as hell felt like it.
Her heart was piercing through her ribcage, and her muscles, and her skin, and all she could do was clutch her chest in agonizing panic.
Ten minutes passed like this, but it felt like an eternity.
As she began to come out of the overdose, a wave of freezing shock came over her. She couldn’t talk and she was too dazed, confused, and scared to move.
She had never felt more alone.
Just her and the gold velour couch, both rotting away in the corner of the squat.
Visual Stories is a series in which I create fictional prose for photographs that inspire me. In other words – a made-up short story behind a picture that sparked my imagination.
Please support Frank Rispoli‘s timeless work at frankrispoli.com & @frank_rispoli. You can learn more about how he documented NYC nights in the 1980s through iconic shoe-centered shots in his i-D feature here.
Featured image © Frank Rispoli