Garth Miró is a writer based in New York City. His work has appeared in Sundog Lit, X-R-A-Y, and Maudlin House among others. His debut novel, The Vacation, is out now through Expat. He currently works as a handyman.
“I’ll be right there!” I called out to my girlfriend.
I’d just stuck my cooking-oil-lubed arm halfway up my asshole when her friends arrived for lunch. Someone’s birthday. Heard them out there, smiling, kissing one another. There was clinking and keys and hellos and I was supremely fucked.
When you smoke a lot of heroin you get really constipated. When you get really constipated you sometimes get impacted. Then you’re an animal.
I was sweating. I jammed my arm up further, and really, it was probably only my hand, but I heard something rip. No. There was no turning back. I’d quit heroin, that’s what I told my girlfriend, so I needed to finish and get out there and host this thing without shit and blood all over myself. Hello! Yes, welcome. Oh this? On my shoulder? No, I think it’s a leaf or something. No! Don’t touch it! Couldn’t have some such slip-up happen. Needed to finish ass-spelunking and clean up. So I could serve them little foods on little comfortable plates. I didn’t know how I’d endure such a truce because I hated food right now, what it’d done to me, and it didn’t deserve plates. It wasn’t my fault that I’d used again. It was the food. I’d been in here for thirty minutes, digging out what seemed like endless buckets of super dense onyx stones, scooping and slopping them down the toilet. Why! I made my hand into a tiny shovel. It smelled ten times worse than normal. This shit that wasn’t quite shit yet.
I heard a knock on the bathroom door, a light tap.
“Seriously,” my girlfriend whispered. “Come out. What are you even doing? Better not be what I think. We talked. It’s rude. I’ll open some wine, but you need to be nice and come out.”
“Everything’s fine! Everything’s fine!” I said, probably much too loud and maniacally happy. A bad performance and I was woozy.
I was getting very weak. It takes a lot out of you: the position of hovering with your legs spread wide open, hunched just right above the toilet. Impacted bowels were rotten vicious bitches. It was so bloody. It was war.
This was becoming an unpardonable lifestyle. This sneaking. Everything behind bathroom doors. The hateful putrid secrets just behind where people smiled and clinked, and it was a pit, my life. Out there were normal people, shine spilling out their heads. And maybe I belonged in here with the shit.
“What’s he doing?” I heard someone say.
“Oh, you know, when he’s….” My girlfriend said something I couldn’t quite pick up, but I could tell she was doing that thing with her hair she did when nervous.
I sucked in some air. This was it. I was going to have to dig my way out the trenches. I swore to God I’d never smoke heroin again. I made all the unwinnable deals. I’d be good. If He just let me get out of this without ripping myself in two. All this blood. Was I going to be OK? God? I promised it was no more cigarettes or buying contraptions off TV, kitchen gadgets I never used, that were cheap, that required great human suffering to produce. I’d take my Suboxone and shut up. I’d tuck in my shirt. Go straight. Be good to Michelle. She put up with so much. All my drugs. The tinfoil everywhere. The tinfoil with slick black tears that slid down past all my hells. The hell I had as a kid, being touched. The hair on his arms like the hair on my arms now, up my ass, up my ass also then. I was an animal eating myself, or pulling myself out my own uterus, giving birth to myself. That’s what it felt like.
My girlfriend knocked again, harder, louder. “What the fuck, hurry up! What the fuck is going on?”
“I think I have a problem,” I said.