|Image courtesy of Stephen Paul Watson|
Triumph is Fine
Triumph stares into the window, if you could call it a window without glass or curtains. Amanda sits in the room beyond – if a huge concrete square is a room – prepping her works. She doesn’t know Triumph is there, watching her.
The stuff came from his shift at the pharmaceutical lab: the secret new drug Triumph’s boss is so excited about. Amanda lifts the needle to the light, presses the plunger, and slides the tip into her vein.
His own skin prickles at the thought of what she feels.
Amanda is really there, Triumph is sure of it. She’s the one injecting the junk, not him – although a worried little voice inside whispers there is a glassine envelope in the penny pocket of his jeans, hidden under the hem of the t-shirt he stole at a blues festival. No one knows about the envelope except for the nervous whispering voice. Triumph would like it to shut up now, thank you very much.
Amanda removes the hypo, exhales, and lies back on the greasy floor. Dark blonde braids slither away from her skull. She is there, she is real, she is not a dream.
Those are the things he tells himself.
Above him the sun pulsates like the valve inside a giant’s heart. He didn’t shoot up, Triumph says to the worried voice. He ate a bologna sandwich earlier. The ladder he’s standing on is secure, and he has enough strength to descend whenever he wants to. He’s got a job, the girl he’s looking at is real, and the envelope is full because he didn’t use. It’s going back to the lab on Monday.
Even if he fell off the ladder the angle of descent wouldn’t kill him. His neck wouldn’t hit the unfinished cement wall. No paralysis, no brains sprayed like scrambled eggs over the gray soil below.
It’s fine. He’s doing fine.
Triumph is fine.