Friday, December 01, 2006

Growing Hope - Installment 8

When the place was populated, fully populated by awake, moving, living human beings, it wasn't nearly as creepy as you might expect an ex-concentration camp to be. Once you got past the entrance there were only a couple more installation pieces to surprise you. The annoying ones were in the bathrooms. They'd sit in waiting, pretend to be asleep, then surprise the living shit out of you. Then cackle. Or chortle. Wait... no... those were the residents.

I left Carol and Telson to each other, to unwind a little, and went further into the building. In the corner of one of the larger common sleeping areas was a converted living room with a few worn out couches and benches. Four clavers were sitting talking, one strumming on an ancient looking acoustic guitar, a pipe being passed around, an open cooler full of beer on the floor. I walked into the room and headed over to them. Three of them I had a passing friendship with, had smoked with them on more than one occasion. I was “that pharma guy” to them. The fourth was Reggie. He was Shelly's ex.

“'Sup, Telson? Wanna beer?” one of them, a girl around 16 or 17 asked.

“Dorse. I'm Dorse. And, yeah, sure, I'll grab a beer.” Reggie didn't even look up at me, just kept staring his beer bottle while I grabbed my own from the cooler. I could see his hand tensing and relaxing around the bottle. I had planned on asking if Shelly came past here, but figured it probably wasn't that great of an idea. Reggie looked pretty intent on using that bottle for something other than drinking, and suffering from head trauma made planning your great escape difficult. That, and he was bigger than me. At least six or seven inches taller, and infinitely more muscular. On top of that, the tension in the air was thick. They'd seen Shelly come through, could tell I was the one that pissed her off.

“Hey, guys, thanks for the beer,” I said, gesturing appreciatively with the bottle. I turned in the direction of Shelly's studio and headed off while I twisted the bottle cap off.

“Dorse,” I turned around. It was the guy who'd been playing guitar, “hey, you didn't happen to bring any of those tomatoes did you? The vine ripened ones?”

“Nah, man. But, I'm thinking I'll head back before the party. Got anything you could trade?” I was hoping for some more beer or pot.

Guitar man thought about it. I took a long pull off the bottle, looked around it at Reggie to make sure he wasn't about to snap. Finally, the guy spoke up, “I've got some aurative. Want that?”

“Yeah, that sounds pretty cool. Is it any good?”

“Best I've had in a while,” was the reply as he strummed his guitar languidly.

“Clean?”

“Yep. Not a bunch of chemical burn or anything. Better than that acid you got me a while back.”

“Yeah,” I paused. I'd forgotten. “Sorry about that shit, man. It was a new guy and stuff, you know? If it makes you feel any better, I took it that same night. Felt like shit for a week after. Almost killed Telson, I think.” I took another long drink. I wanted to get out of there. Quick.

“Dorse, man, don't even worry about it. I've had worse. I didn't like freak out or anything, it was just dirty. It's cool.”

“Cool. Well, hey, I'll grab half a sack of those tomatoes for you when I go back. Thanks again for the beer.” I walked off quickly, the desire for a bottle to the back of the head completely absent. Shelly's was only across the room and down the hall. It was a big room, but I thought I could clear it, or at make it out of range.

Cross Posted at Frequency23...

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