Archive for September, 2014

The Forbidden Things (Dope Holiday)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on September 30, 2014 by ofherbsandaltars

There were those frequent moments when Adrian began to wish that he had never touched the Forbidden Things, because each one left its scar on his soul, burned in for all eternity. He often wondered what his soul looked like by now, whether it was lacerated and scarred all over, singed black and scabbed brown, not hardened by the flame of experience but corrupted by it forever, pierced eternally with wounds that would split open and gush fresh blood when it was least expected. The fruits of the poison garden, once tasted, could never be forgotten. A man who had eaten only bread would never hunger for steak, would never thirst for wine, would never crave the slow, crackling burn of heroin as it rolled in thick black trails across tin foil, the acrid spice on the tongue and the numb warmth that followed – he had never tasted those pleasures; he remained simple, remained pure.

When they warned the children away from those fruits, they told them all the wrong things. Those adults who spoke against the poison fruits had never tasted their sweetness – they knew not of what they spoke, and all they could pass on were dry, moral lectures, facts and statistics and nonsense, which would only kindle the curiosity of those innocent bright-eyed children. The poison fruits, they were told, would kill you dead in a single bite, would drive a man to madness and ruin, yet within each group of children was one a little wiser, one with a brother or sister some years older, who had sampled those dark delicacies and lived to tell the tale. It was a tale of ecstasy and decadence, of swaying moonlight and swirling neon, and it rang far louder in the hearts of the children than all those dusty lies, all those tepid warnings.

The truth of the poison fruit was not death, for death would be too easy. The truth of the poison fruit was that they lived on for an eternity, burrowed into the souls of their victims and nested there like writhing parasites. The first bite could be harmless, but to feast on the poison fruit, to come to know it as intimately as any lover, those who strayed this far into the garden would never truly be free. For the rest of their lives the honeyed poison of those fruits would wind its black blood through their veins, would burn searing scars into their hearts and minds, for the poison fruit could never be forgotten. The simple life of innocent children, of men dining solely on bread, this life would lose its colour – the bread would have no taste. The world would forever be dull and stale, a stagnant puddle of boredom and ugliness, never able to rival those neon swirls, the moonlight and ecstasy and velvet oblivion that dwelt in the garden of the poison fruit.

The afflicted would suffer a thousand hungers, would starve for lost sensations, every moment of every day until they died. If they sought to cure the ache in their soul, the burning thirst of paradise lost, with a desperate return to the garden, they would find themselves a prisoner there, for there was no such word as enough. The fruit could be stacked high enough to block out the sun, to cast the world into everlasting darkness, but the stack would always dwindle. Some chose this path regardless, dedicated themselves to the garden until it sent them mad, until the poison fruit thickened their blood with its toxins, until their organs failed and their corpses rotted in the shade of those fruit trees, putrescent liquids seeping into the dirt. Others turned away, lived forever in devout starvation, suffered the gnawing of the scars on their souls, the hungry mouths of ancient wounds, which hungered forever for the poisoned blood of a thousand poison fruits.

 

 

Adrian liked to torture himself with those memories, liked to spend whole nights lying awake, ripping open the scabs on his soul, until they gushed toxic blood that burned through his veins and made his brain throb with longing. All those endless neon nights, those reeling blacklit 4am moments when the music had seeped into his bloodstream and tingled through every vein, when he had fallen out of the doors of clubs into the cool night air and stared for hours at the leaves of autumnal trees, the graceful arc of their silver branches framing the sparkling eternity of the midnight sky. Those moments when the daylight world, the world of tasteless bread and tasteless sanity, had slept in its bed and he alone had possessed the night, had felt the darkness and moonlight coursing through his bloodstream in a sizzling torrent of endless possibility – the moments when he felt alive, not merely existing. He remembered those glorious Sundays, still flying high on the drugs of the night before, when he would hoover up a cold white line of speed, and drive across the city just for the hell of it. The sky would be a perfect sunlit blue, and he would soar through its endless bright expanse on wings of chemical fire, the windows open and the wind in his hair, music turned up until every drumbeat shivered through the marrows of his bones, pounded in time with the unstoppable rhythm of his heart. The singer’s raw, primal screams would shred through every atom of his brain, supercharging the chemical soup of his blood, sending his skin shivering into euphoric goosebumps – swigging Redbull and snorting speed and powering down those endless blue sky highways, caught between the summer sun and the open road, his heartbeat roaring like a V8 engine.

Sometimes he taunted himself with those memories, other times he chose the opposite side of the coin, seeking not life itself but the peace and warmth of life-in-death. The elegance of the slim syringe, the hot amber syrup it contained, the sudden rush of blood into the barrel, snaking through the golden solution like a blooming ruby flower, before the tide turned and his hungry vein devoured it all. Then the count of a single heartbeat, two, three…before the rush of velvet and cobwebs and blissful nothingness enfolded him in a lover’s embrace. He saw again the image of that innocent white envelope, folded with illicit origami, its contents a thick snowdrift of soft brown powder – while the envelope was full, Adrian had been invincible, untouchable – whatever happened in the cruel and meaningless world outside, it could be fended off, ignored, destroyed, with the delicate sting of a fresh syringe.

He would torture himself with holidays from the past, not those filled with childish laughter and wholesome fun, but the ones spent locked away in a dilapidated hut in some godforsaken German wilderness, crouched over the glow of a single lantern. He remembered the old-fashioned patterning on those dirty piles of overlapping rugs, the monstrous spiders that scuttled about their secret purpose on the edge of the pool of lamplight. It had been a hut intended for avid hikers, or yogic vegan hippies, with their clean blood and pure minds, but Adrian had found his own dark solace in its simplistic isolation. He had arrived with a suitcase full of syringes, sterile spoons, cigarette filters and all the other flotsam and jetsam of addiction, but most importantly of all, that strangely folded envelope, fat and heavy with its bottomless bounty of heroin. Inside the flimsy walls of that dilapidated hut, in the golden pool of lamplight, Adrian had immersed himself in the idyllic fantasy of his addiction. There were no unreliable dealers, no waiting around in the cold and the rain, scanning the horizon for a familiar grey car. There were no patrolling policemen, no empty wallets, no meddlesome friends knocking on his door. Outside the small, grimy window of his hut, moonlight bathed the countryside, wind whispered through the pine trees, and on those dirty rugs, Adrian found his own utopia, let his sleeping mind dance through the gardens of the poison fruit, in pure, blissful abandonment.

He remembered his time in Paris, in an apartment high above a busy courtyard, when as the sun set he would open the windows and let the jaunty French music drift in, on warm summer air scented with the mingling perfumes of baking bread and roasting meat. Adrian would sit by the window, high above the rabble of diners in that city of romance, cooking up his shot with as much care and finesse as the Parisian chefs below, sucking it up in a fine syringe, delivering the precious load into his bloodstream, then closing his eyes and drifting away on the music, on the sunset, on the warm summer air. Eventually he would stumble to his feet, stand at the window with a slow burning cigarette, watching the crowds come and go, watching them laugh and sip their wine, feeling as though he were an angel looking down from heaven. Sometimes he would drag on his leather jacket and go down to walk amongst them, to reel through the city streets, warm and weightless in the velvet cocoon of opium’s golden lovechild.

The memories he tortured himself with drove him slowly mad. There were nights when he didn’t sleep at all, when he threw back the tangled sheets and paced around his room, smoked endless cigarettes and stared out of the window at the empty darkened street. The moon was a flat dull orb that held no silver secrets. The stars didn’t shimmer, the trees were brown and dead. The night held no magic, and Adrian was not an angel looking down. He walked with feet of clay, sucked into the same stagnant mire as the rest of the muddy world, never soaring in exultation, never basking in opiate bliss. Every second that passed was as dusty and slow as a torturous ticking clock, which counted down the rattling breaths of a putrid, sluggish eternity. The poison fruit, once tasted, could never be forgotten. Adrian had gorged himself on every fruit in that garden, had touched every one of the Forbidden Things, and they had polluted his soul for all time. He tortured himself with memories, because even the pain of his bleeding soul, of the ravenous mouths of hungers unfed, were better than the emptiness of the daylight world, the sane world; that yawning eternity of saltless bread, and stale sober life…

Even God Gets Lonely, Sometimes

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 28, 2014 by ofherbsandaltars

God hated birthdays. No one knew when God’s birthday was, because God wasn’t allowed a birthday. The very concept of God having a birthday was enough to blow the mortals’ minds, so he kept it to himself, and every birthday was even lonelier than the one before. But the truth was, God had a birthday – God remembered every detail of his birth. The answer to the eternal question, ‘Who made God?’, was simply that God had made himself. He had been a particularly precocious clump of space-dust and atoms, all those billions of years ago, filled with big dreams and wild ambition, and though it had taken him several thousands of years to do so, God willed himself into existence. He had shaped his own Godly form, bequeathed to himself all the powers of creation, and eagerly set about building the universe, sploshing molecules around with a gleeful grin on his bearded face. And the date on which he had exploded into being was, by modern calculations, the 27th of September. The year? That aspect, God would never reveal to anyone, and he did his very best to wipe it from his own mind, because whenever he realised the grim magnitude of his advancing age, he was filled with a deep and ghastly horror at the thought of such a mind-bending span of time, and worse still, the collected memories of all those lonesome birthdays. Remembering his age made God need a sit down, a big whiskey, and sometimes even an angelic hooker.

But angelic hookers aside, it was always lonely, being God. He saw the sadness of those dwindling, pathetic pandas, their confusion when it came to mating, and eating, and all the simple tasks of survival – they had been a rather flawed creation on a very hungover Sunday, but God was fond of them all the same. In their mournful, black-ringed eyes, he saw his own loneliness reflected – I’m not supposed to be here anymore, thought the pandas, and God sometimes thought the same thing. He was the only one of his kind, he didn’t even have any family to speak of, now that Jesus was deep into his rebellious phase. He was attending college on the other side of heaven, but all he really did was smoke weed and drink beer and learn new skateboarding tricks, and he thought that God was really, really uncool. When God went to visit Jesus’s fraternity house, they made him feel old and weird and awkward, and he would leave feeling even more alone, so these days, he didn’t bother to visit much.

And although, obviously, the humans were God’s creations, were all his distant family, pumped into life with his own sweat and tears and breath, often they made him feel just as confused and alone. All the atrocities and hatred that were committed in his name made him feel sick, and there was no easy way for God to straighten this out. He had discovered a very long time ago that he could not speak directly to the humans, to his delicate little fleshy creations – the power of his merest whisper was enough to blow out their eardrums, and if he got onto an interesting subject and his voice became more enthusiastic, they would violently explode before his very eyes, which had traumatised God so intensely that he never dared try speaking to the people again. He had to rely on Metatron for most of it, but what the humans didn’t know was that Metatron had very bad hearing and a serious drinking problem, so more often than not he fucked it all up, and that was when the Old Testament happened. And now that Metatron had been in rehab for the past thousand years, God was a bit screwed. The other angels weren’t much use, even though they loved God with all their pure, angelic hearts. They were the most innocent of his creations, and in a way, they were almost childlike, which had been endearing until the 1960’s happened and their happy, childish minds were filled with visions of free love and LSD. Raphael was always high off his pretty little head, going around making MDMA beer and morphine potatoes for all the inhabitants of heaven, and Uriel forgot his own name so often that Raphael was forced to keep writing it on the poor kid’s hands. So all in all, as beautiful as they were, the angels were useless for everything except the creation of wild parties.

But the atrocities continued, and God watched day after day, feeling helpless and depressed, and lonely and angry, unable to speak his mind, to straighten out the religious lies or give assistance to the needy. Much to his surprise, it had been that useless skateboarding stoner brat Jesus who had finally given God the means to right these wrongs. At the fraternity house, amidst a scattering of bongs and beer cans, Jesus had a luminous purple laptop, and on it, he had The Internet. God was quickly entranced by this strange thing, this gaudy creation of his creations – it felt like he had spawned a surprising but wonderful grandson. And after a lengthy explanation from Jesus, punctuated by much exasperated sighing and rolling of eyes at the sheer uncoolness of having to explain The Internet, God got the hang of the thing. And then, he joined Facebook.

God quickly came to enjoy Facebook, but it was as inherently flawed as those poor, hapless pandas. God might be God, up in heaven, but on Facebook, he had less priority and status than some excessively tongue-endowed being named Miley Cyrus, which was more than a little frustrating. God rapidly went through ten laptops, when the irksome flaws of Facebook infuriated him to the extent of accidentally spitting thunderbolts at the unfortunate piece of machinery, but still, the lure of Facebook, of this opportunity to mingle with the people, kept drawing him back. He had enjoyed many bouts of hilarious, Earth-shaking laughter when some of the more brain-lacking humans accused him of blasphemy – they couldn’t even spell the word properly, to add to God’s amusement, but the fact they believed Metatron’s garbled translations over the genuine, direct Word of God, was so bizarre that he laughed and laughed until he blew up his eleventh laptop.

Some of the humans, some of the ones who could spell, and think for themselves, they came to love God, to welcome him into their lives, into their mundane mortal conversations, to wear his face on their t-shirts as though he were a human rockstar, and something strange began to happen. God started to feel that he was a part of things, again – that he had a family, down on Earth, and that he was welcome there. And when God felt really, really bummed out about the dawning of yet another awful, depressing, lonely birthday, he told the humans about it, and they cheered him up. So much so, in fact, that God finally revealed the existence of his birthday to the angels, to all of heaven, and that total wastecase Raphael threw him the most ridiculous birthday party anyone had ever experienced in the entire history of the universe, in a house where the walls were fully papered with blotter acid. The ceiling rained ecstasy pills and in every room was a fountain of beer, in which floated happy little duck-shaped cocaine marshmallows, and after a few hours of that, God was far too happy to give half a shit about his awful birthday.

Instead, he sat down with Raphael, who beamed at him in utter delight at having the sole attention of God, his white-blonde hair a mad chaos around his pale face, his glittering aquamarine eyes dilated and blissful. And God told him about Facebook, and about the friendly humans, and about how awesome it all was, and Raphael gave him a hug, and made him the biggest morphine potato that anyone had ever seen. And then, he went to write the date of God’s birthday on the back of his hand, so that he would never forget to throw him a party.

When God finally crawled out of the front door, at 6am, Metatron was puking in the flowerbeds, and Uriel was passed out on a massive blow-up flamingo in the middle of the swimming pool. And that day, God went home with a great big grin on his bearded, Godly face, clutching a sheaf of his first ever birthday cards.

***********

If you liked this, a more in-depth, alternate universe tale, also featuring stoner Jesus and his dysfunctional angels, can be found here: Paradise

At The Club, 3am

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2014 by ofherbsandaltars

As Dave stared around himself, through the surreal haze of booze and sleep deprivation, the scenes that he witnessed would turn anyone into an atheist. Humanity grew up on its illusions of grace, on movies filled with polished celebrities, with scripted scenes where everyone was eloquent and charming, amusing and beautiful, and it was easy to be sucked in, to take it as reality. It was easy to believe, that human beings were those refined, beautiful creatures, until you went out to the club. Dave found himself surrounded by blubbery, cackling hags, by bloated men with sweaty faces, their noses like squashed strawberries of angry broken veins, their vacant staring eyes and yellowed smoker’s teeth. The stench filled his nostrils, of bad breath and sweaty armpits, cheap deodorant and ripe flatulence – it was impossible to avoid seeing humanity as it truly was, in that hideous 3am moment. Dave saw clearly now, through the haze of beer and farts, saw what these people really were. They were blundering meat vehicles of corpulent flesh and drunken sludgy braincells, staggering horribly through a tired charade of civilised life, their bellies dangling out of ill-fitting clothing, scratching at their crotches and picking their noses while their bodies decayed into old age, when they would finally expire and rot back into the sodden mire from whence they came.

Surrounded by these hideous, sweating people, their wet belching and drunken tales of pointless nonsense, there could be no God, no heaven, no higher purpose possible. These drunken abominations of doughy flesh and stinking armpits could never be spiritual beings, formed in the image of any God. There were no angels on this rotten Earth, nothing of beauty, nothing of worth – nothing here besides sweaty bloated flesh and reeking farts, and the endless moronic braying laughter of a flabby gap-toothed hag. It was a grim and ghastly vision of foul, unwelcome truth, and Dave decided that it was well past time to go home.

As he stumbled out into the cool night air, he stared up at the moon and the stars, sparkling down from the blackness of the sky, and he wondered where all of it went – all of the farts, all of the slippery baked bean and jagermeister vomit, all those ghastly, endless, slurred tales of bullshit bravado, the steaming, frothing drunken piss and miserable Sunday morning torrents of Guinness gravy shit. Why did the moon look so clean and white, when it had witnessed millennia of puking, shitting, farting humans, when it had looked down on all of this crap for longer than anyone on Earth had even been alive? Tonight, Dave felt like there should be a skidmark right across the middle of the moon, just to bear witness to the foul atrocities of the human race. He could almost hear some belching drunken hag bragging about it – Yeahh, that were me, that were, oi done a shit on’t moon…

He staggered towards home, pausing briefly to tug out his dick and piss up a tree, and that depressed him too. The filthy reek of his booze-filled piss reminded him that he was a part of it, this ghastly, grisly mess. He too was a reeking, pissing, farting human no less disgusting than anyone else in that awful place, which really seemed quite cruel. None of the rest of them seemed to notice, but he, Dave, would likely never forget – would never see the world as pure again, now that he had witnessed that grotesque, bestial carnival of deformed flesh and leering insanity. When he got home, he would have to smoke an enormous joint, and have a very, very intense wank, to some really classy porn, just to wash himself clean, to remind himself that beauty still existed – that there was something left to live for. It would have to be something with a storyline, and lacy knickers – girls with real boobs and clean pink pussies, something with lesbians in it. Lacy knickers, and neat little twats – these were the things that would purify Dave’s soul.

When he reached the sanctity of his room, the filth was inescapable. Dirty, yellowed socks lay strewn across his carpet, the congealing remnants of beans on toast clotting in a bowl on the bookcase, and as if to complete the conspiracy of Dave’s mental breakdown, the cat had taken a shit on his pillow. He let out a defeated sigh, deciding that he was far too drunk and depressed to clean up shit right now, so he merely removed the offending pillow and placed it in the corner. Then he sat down, and fired up his laptop, shooting through cyberspace towards the nearest palace of lesbian fornication. But as soon as he had achieved an erection and lubed himself up, the horror overwhelmed him once more. He could feel those rotting, clotted beans staring at him from the bookcase, could see the shit on the pillow in the corner, and these things reduced him to the same level of bestial revulsion as all those leering hags at the club. Tugging away at his greasy cock, not three feet from a dollop of shit that lay on a pillow like a ceremonial wedding ring – the whole thing was just foul. Try as he might to concentrate on those writhing, moaning lesbians, the horror had soaked into Dave’s drunken soul, and beneath the lone brown eye of that fearsome shit, his cock withered in his hand.

Dave shut off the lesbians with an irritable frown, and scoured his brain for something that might wash the filth from his mind – something elegant, and refined, and civilised. After a few moments, he settled on Pride and Prejudice; surely nothing could be more mannerly and high brow than Mr Darcy. But as soon as Dave started watching it, the reality assaulted him – there was no deodorant, no toothpaste, in those days – maybe even ghastly outdoor toilets where everyone’s shit just landed on top of the prior shit and lingered there to fester amidst a cloud of buzzing flies. Elizabeth probably had a hairy snatch, and hairy legs and hairy armpits, because nobody shaved anything in those days! These people were more bestial, more foul even than the apes at the club, beneath their cravats and sideburns and petticoats, their thin veneer of elegance – humanity was a sewer, and the horror was everywhere.

By 6am, Dave had flicked through just about every film he possessed, but in all of them he found the shame and degradation of foul, reeking humanity. Finally, he had wandered around his house in despair, seeking something that would cleanse his mind of the filth, and by 6.15, he was sprawled across the living room carpet with his sister’s copy of Twilight. Suddenly, he felt a strange wave of understanding – this was why all those stupid teenagers went insane for this terrible bilge! Perhaps teenage girls understood this awful feeling, understood the repugnant, bestial nature of humanity, the stinking armpits and sweaty bollocks of ghastly human men, and so they dreamed up these vampires – a boyfriend who didn’t shit, who didn’t fart or burp or piss up trees, whose bollocks were so clean, so pure, that they sparkled in the sunlight!

Dave knew that he would feel a deep sense of shame in the morning, but all the same, he crawled into bed with Twilight, and fixed his mind on the glittering image of Edward’s pearly white cock. It rose like a mighty tower of purity and strength, chasing out the filth of the loathsome human race. Its bollocks hung down like a white velvet pouch filled with strawberry flavoured semen, concealing the glistening eye of a shitless, pristine rectum. So long as Dave fixed his mind on that immaculate, shimmering cock, he knew that everything would be alright.

Biohazard (I Hate You, Dr Penaranda)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on September 17, 2014 by ofherbsandaltars

John was used to the scorn of doctors, was used to being treated like a second class citizen, but Dr Penaranda took the fucking piss. John had been going to drug treatment agencies for five years now, pissing in cups and watching as dishevelled ex-junkie counsellors scrutinised his urinary offering, dipping tester sticks into it which would then decide his fate. He was used to being rejected from blood drives for the dual crimes of drug abuse and fucking other men, and he was used to the bi-yearly blood tests from fat snooty women in latex gloves, sucking out vials of his blood, which was deemed toxic before it was even tested. He had spiked his veins with shared syringes, taken it up the ass bareback on numerous occasions, had even stuck dirty needles directly into his dick a few particularly unpleasant times, when all his other veins had gone into hiding, and between the choice of his dick or his toes, John had chosen his dick – there was something far more wince-inducing about toe-veins, somehow. But after all of these dances with death, all of these sordid encounters, a dick up the ass or a needle in the arm, John had escaped unscathed. It had been a year since he last shot heroin, almost as long since he let anyone fuck him without a condom, and his blood was still as pure as Mother Theresa. But to Dr Penaranda, he was nothing more than the scum of the Earth.

Though John had emerged from over a decade of drug abuse without HIV or hepatitis, there were other, stranger and more subtle side effects. Before he got into heroin, he had enjoyed a long and euphoric, but ultimately exhausting fling with intravenous speed and cocaine. Sometime after he knocked that on the head and transferred his affections to the more sympathetic embrace of smack, his body had developed a profound hatred for all stimulants. Coffee morphed over the course of a year from a friendly, legal, Morning Drug into a sinister black nightmare which would induce near-death heart palpitations, sweating, and the strong desire to vomit. John’s friends found it hilarious, that they’d witnessed him shooting gear directly into his dick but he couldn’t stomach even half a cup of coffee without getting the shakes and vomiting into the nearest bin. These insidious symptoms grew over time, and before long nicotine caused the same disastrous effects, much to John’s dismay, after a wonderful lifetime of daily smoking. His much-abused body was fighting back with a vengeance, by taking away from him all those minor vices that he held most dear. Soon afterwards, heroin with all its sinister cutting agents was firmly removed from the menu too, and John found himself forced into the ghastly world of sobriety and healthy living. He very quickly found that he hated it, but that didn’t stop his vengeful body from complaining.

By the time John had been clean for a year, his spiteful fuck of a body had banned items from his diet as diverse and peculiar as Weetabix, tea, skimmed milk and supposedly-healthy vegetarian sausages. If he wanted to survive the day without attacks of shaking, heart palpitations and that exact same feeling of terrible, nauseating dread that came after a long night of injecting cocaine, John was forced to subsist on rice and vegetables and potatoes, in an endless ribbon of sickening monotony. When he took these woes to the doctors, he was eventually prescribed valium, which muted the symptoms enough to make suicide less tempting, because suicide was sometimes very tempting, for a man who had been violently stripped of all the loves of his life within the space of a single year, cigarettes replaced with celery, junk swapped for fucking potatoes – John was hanging onto his sanity by the merest thread.

But then, along came Dr Penaranda. She was Indian, with a polite manner that thinly veiled an ill-educated, junkie-hating cunt, as John quickly came to realise. His valium prescription was stripped down to a mediocre 28 pills, never to be refilled again, and the stupid bitch sent him off to see a counsellor, as if he could talk away his heart palpitations and visualise those vomited meals right back into his stomach, and by the time John left the doctor’s office, he was burning with existential fury. He strode into the nearest off-license, bought a packet of cigarettes and a lighter, and then lit five in a row, purely for the purpose of stubbing them out on the scarred flesh of his left arm – a small and bitter act of vengeance against his arsehole of a body.

When he had finished with this pointless ritual of rather expensive self-mutilation, his head felt slightly clearer. He began to realise that although his body was a traitorous cunt of the highest order, the real enemy here was Dr Penaranda. She viewed him as a drug-seeking scumbag, never to be trusted with pills again, never to be treated like a human being, let alone shown the most basic compassion, and for this, she had to pay. John spent the better part of a day turning over in his mind all the ways that a doctor could be harmed – professionally, emotionally, physically. It was three days before he had concocted a scheme that would hit at the heart of all three. His body was failing him – that much was undeniable. Did he really want to live for another forty years in this arsehole of a body, on a drug-free diet of celery and potatoes? Not fucking likely! And that knowledge – it gave him power. The man with nothing to lose, has everything to gain. His failing body would become his ultimate weapon, a walking nuke aimed directly at that snooty, moronic bitch of a doctor. John had work to do.

It took him longer than he expected to track down a local participant in the bug chasing scene – a small subset of the gay population who sought to contract HIV. He had read about it years ago, had found it fascinatingly self destructive and insane, and had noted for future reference always to check sexual partners for a biohazard tattoo – in this world, it wasn’t just a cool design, it signified a ‘gift giver’, an infected man wishing to pass on his sickness. It was two weeks before John managed to arrange a meeting with one of these elusive creatures, during which time he had spent three days shivering and vomiting as his treacherous body added white chocolate to the ‘never eat again’ list.

He met his Gift Giver at a nondescript apartment in the city. The guy looked healthy enough, attractive and muscular, a biohazard tattoo proudly emblazoned across the rippling, shaved expanse of his chest. The entire experience took John back to his youthful days of speed and meaningless sex – a stranger’s apartment, minimal conversation before the fun began. During the foreplay, his partner was rough, and when John protested at the stinging pain in his asshole, the guy explained that it was good to rip it up with your fingernails a little – helped the bacteria to get in there, raised your chances of contracting the bug. John nodded, frowning slightly, and crawled onto the bed to await that greased, toxic cock.

Half an hour later, John was on the train home. Three stops into the journey, he visited the bathroom to shit out the rancid ooze of his partner’s semen, having given it a good fifteen minutes to work its magic. He emerged from the bathroom with a wide grin on his face, and sat back down, feeling elated. Take that, he thought smugly, You cantankerous, vengeful SHIT! Think you can take away my smack, my cigarettes and my coffee, do you, you rotten-hearted little fuck? Well, I hope you like what’s coming! Enjoy the AIDs, you son of a bitch…

John was well aware that this vengeance plan was to be a slow one. He had to endure three months of potatoes and boredom before he got his blood tested, but he put these months to good use. Wearing a wig, a cap, and a pair of sunglasses, he spent every waking moment stalking that bitch of a doctor, observing her habits, getting to know her routines, finding the perfect opportunities to strike, whilst growing a spectacular beard to hide his identity. Finally, in mid August, John’s blood was tested, and he found that he had hit the germ jackpot – John was now HIV Positive, in all senses of the word. He walked home beaming sunnily at everyone he passed, feeling all-powerful, godlike – he had become a walking biological weapon, an avenging angel with poison for blood – John the almighty Bringer of Death, never to be underestimated again.

From his studies of Dr Penaranda, he knew that she went shopping after work, almost every Friday afternoon. She would always park in the same corner of the car park, before browsing the shelves of Primark and River Island, and then moving on to Sainsburys. This was where John would strike. At 11am on Friday, he borrowed a car from a friend, a nondescript blue Ford which would attract no attention. At noon he visited his familiar old needle exchange, and picked up a bag of 1ml syringes, with their orange caps, their slim barrels, their needles so fine you barely felt the sting. By 1pm he was at home, poking around in his arm for the ruins of a vein, from which he extracted half a syringeful of dark, toxic blood. Once this weapon was prepared, he donned his wig, his sunglasses and cap, his smartest suit and cleanest shoes. Then, he got into the car, and drove out to the car park, to lie in wait.

Dr Penaranda arrived at 2.47pm, in her familiar maroon Mercedes. John slouched in his seat, and waited for her to enter the mall, before he got out of the car, and hurried along behind. He endured almost fifteen minutes of browsing in Primark, by which time the queue at the checkout was building up. Finally, Dr Penaranda emerged from the changing rooms, and joined the end of the queue. John straightened his sunglasses, pushed down his hat, and removed the cap from the syringe. As he walked across the room, carrying a pair of blue jeans, he assessed his target. The doctor was wearing her typically boring attire, a smart-ish suit with black trousers. He zeroed in on one of her meaty thighs, and slowed his pace to a casual stroll, fighting to control his elated grin. As he reached the back of the queue he tripped over his own foot, tossed the jeans onto the floor, and bent down to retrieve them. As he stood back up he stumbled again, bumped lightly into the doctor’s right thigh, a quick stick of the needle, thumping down the plunger with his thumb. She jumped slightly, turning to frown at him, and John mumbled a drunken-sounding apology, wandering hastily away across the shop.

He dumped the jeans on the nearest table, and exited Primark, glancing casually down his sleeve to confirm that the syringe in his hand now contained barely one unit of blood. Beaming, he recapped that toxic vessel, and made his way back to the carpark. This day had been a glorious win for junkie science, for the hair-fine tip of that slim syringe, loaded with its cargo of poison blood. Who’s the scum of the Earth now, Mrs Fucking Doctor, he thought, as he drove towards home. Let’s see how long you can keep your job, keep lording it over us peasants, now you’ve caught the junkie fag disease. Let’s see how YOU like being treated like an untrustworthy retard riddled with plague, you stuck up snot-nosed shit-eating cunt… These thoughts were making him cross again, so he turned on the radio, and sang along loudly and cheerfully with Huey Lewis, whilst imaging his filthy blood, thick with pearly dollops of infected semen, writhing blackly through the puritanical veins of that supercilious bitch. By the time he got home, he felt on top of the world.

Over the next few months, John kept an eye on Dr Penaranda. He witnessed the frequent colds, the absences from work, then finally the hospital appointment that ended with her sobbing pathetically in her Mercedes. That night, he ate his potato with more enjoyment than he had been able to muster in months. Within another week, she was no longer working at the surgery, and John had a brand new doctor, who was sympathetic to his plight. It seemed quite natural that a dying man should be anxious, and as such, John was given his valium prescription again, so that he could live out his final years in peace and tranquillity. It certainly wasn’t smack, but it made all those endless potatoes a lot easier to face…