When I Was Born for the Seventh Time
by zahra

Utensils required for cooking up:

-Spoon. Cleanliness optional. *Extras* will get burned off anyway.

-Lighter. Available for sixty-cents at the liquor store or three for a dollar at the Laundromat on the corner. Buying in bulk saves time.

-Tying-off device, preferably a belt or a long strip of rubber. Anything that can be adjusted by using teeth. Do not forget to remove said device lest it cut off circulation to the rest of the body, and you have to get a limb amputated.

-Needle. Cleanliness of which *is* a concern. Do not share needles with anyone. No matter how good their shit.

-Cotton. Required. Should not be recycled.

-Additive. Citric acid or Vitamin C. Do NOT use vinegar. It will cause blindness.

-Heroin. Not optional.

Lex normally doesnít make lists.

Sometimes there are exceptions.

This particular list is written on the kitchen table in permanent marker.

This isnít Lexís apartment.


People always call marijuana the Gateway Drug, but Lex never believed that. Marijuana never led him anywhere except to the commissary to buy junk food, and he was doing E long before he invested in a dime bag. Besides none of that had anything to do with Shrooms or acid.

One does not necessarily follow the other.

Trying to find a pattern in drugs is like spending too much time looking at those 3-D puzzles. Itís all pointless anyway. Heroin, however, has a point. A very nice one.

In the beginning Lex would Chase the Dragon, but it got old real fast.

Shooting up though. Thatís different.


Left-handed people shoot into their right arm.

Lex is left-handed. He shoots into his right arm, at least until the vein collapses, and heís required to learn how to shoot into his left arm. He might try out the veins in his chest next or the ones in his fingertips. Just to see.

Lex is not going to shoot between his toes. He hates his toes; theyíre too long. He is not going to shoot into his thigh either, thatís far too secretive for him.

Luthors are always proud of everything they do, and Lex has always liked his left arm. He has to work his right arm twice as hard simply because it doesnít get as much use, and only ten percent of the worldís population is left-handed. Yet left-handers are more prone to addiction than anyone else.

Theyíre also more likely to commit suicide.

It would figure.

Napoleon was left-handed, as was Marilyn Monroe.

Alexander was left-handed, and it explains a lot.

Left-handed people are special.

Lexís dealer is left-handed as well.


Heroin ranges in color from beige to brown.

The rarest is white.

Most people canít get China White anymore.

Lex is not most people.


The needle slides in so easily that itís like the proverbial warm knife through butter. Or an oar through water.

Itís three oíclock in the morning and Menís Rowing is on ESPN2.

So far Lex has watched bowling, the Canadian Ironman Triathlon, college football practices and skeet shooting. He needs to change the channel, but he canít find the remote. Correction: he canít bring himself to move to look for it, and when he scratches at his nose the skin flakes.

Lexís skin is dry. Heís dehydrated. He hasnít eaten in forever. He hasnít drunk anything, apart from whatever is in Marcusí refrigerator, in days. Heís not sure how many days have passed since he broke in.

Marcus isnít his dealer.

Marcus is his friend, lover, pusher, shoot-up buddy, except that Lex doesnít have friends so Marcus isnít really anything.

Marcus is dead.

He died four weeks ago.

Lex should know. He was there.


He opens the window to the fire escape before shooting up at the kitchen table.

He has no idea why.

The sun is shining, but Lex doesnít know what day it is. He doesnít really care.

There are birds chirping somewhere, they must be happy about something. Lex wishes he could be like that, but as he pulls the belt tighter he knows that soon he will be.

Soon nothing else will matter.


There is no reason for Lex to be on this binge.

Richer than Satan, infinitely hotter than Bill Gates, heís got it all. He just doesnít happen to want any of it right now.

Sometimes he hates his life.


Lex did not kill anybody for a hit.

He should call Phalen and tell him that.


Heroin makes people constipated.

Lex hasnít taken a shit in days.

He hasnít taken a piss in days either.

Dehydration plus constipation. Itís worrisome.

Lex isnít worried at all.

Someone has probably stolen his car given the neighborhood, but maybe not. Heís not sure where he left it. He may not have even parked it. He doesnít know where the keys are anyway, and he may have left the Porsche running in the street. Double parked. Still, itís not as though heís planning on going somewhere now, and heís always hated orange shag carpeting.

Marcusís apartment has it wall-to-wall.

Oh well.

Lex just needs another hit.

Thatís all that counts.


Spoon in one hand, lighter in the other.

The smell is acidic and the bubbles are turning brown.

This is good. He can load the gun.

Needle, cotton, and teeth holding the cheap imitation leather so that his veins jump to attention.

Lexís teeth almost cut through the belt though, and it throws him off.

Heís impatient, and shooting-up is a process.

Sometimes it takes too long.

The needle is warm in the crook of his arm, left over exposure to the heated spoon; and the way it slides in is like fucking with lubrication. Beautiful. Seamless.

Thereís blood in the chamber now, and Lex is about to fly.

He cocks the trigger, and the heroin fires like a bullet gliding through skin and bone.

Every time Lex dies he gets to visit his mother.


There is something cold against the back of Lexís head.

His eyes flutter open , and a hummingbird is flittering near a bush of azaleas. The cold is a park bench, not a gun, and Lex is in front of a caged enclosure.

Nothing makes sense.

The belt is still around his left arm, and when Lex walks towards the cage thereís a white Bengal tiger pacing back and forth about fifty feet away.

Getting high always makes Lex think too much, but heís not sure how he got to the zoo.

Perhaps if he sits down everything will become clearer.


Lex wakes up in a sterile hospital room and the sun is shining through cheap, plastic blinds.

Heís not dead.


His father isnít there either.

Also, typical.

There is a note resting on his lap with a date that means nothing.

Not quite so typical.

Betty Ford means something though.

So do the words ĎSmallville.í


Notes: This PSA is brought to you by Irvine Welsh. Do not put tampons in tomato soup. Also, do not do heroin. Seriously.

Title courtesy of Cornershop.