A Cut-up Life By Patrick McDermid [PREVIOUS PAGE] [NEXT PAGE] [Texts Index]


Part 8: The Danger of Getting Drunk


The Danger Patrol



"Look here Lars, if you think your going to stick that thing in there you must be stranger than The Danger Patrol." Lars winces at the mention of The Danger Patrol. An involuntary muscle contraction takes hold of his body,

forcing him to over-tighten the silk ribbons which he has been tying around the poodle's throat. A delicate trickle of blood spills from the poodle's mouth onto the pink shag carpet.

Lars laughed thinking of the way she had adapted so well, or had it actually been the other way around? All he really knew was that he needed some more of that evil shit the Slowburns were selling: SkullB12 or something like that... His brain rattled back and changed lanes.

Meanwhile back at the hair salon Rico and Lefty were sampling a mixture of hair dyes and pharmaceutical fun, blended with car cleaning solutions. They have just injected a cat with their newest creation. It is turning from a light purple to a really neat blue while making its way down from the ceiling.

"Great." Ricky exclaims. "Three Bucks a hit!"

"We'll call it QuickDeathTone12B."

The last week before Wonderful Welfare Wednesday can sometimes be very excruciating. Even for those of us who are not on welfare. At this point things are getting pretty desperate. The daily menu of our communal kitchen consists of variations around a single theme: Fried Potatoes.

The nicotine addicts among us are reduced to scavenging through ashtrays looking for salvageable butts. We ration out the dwindling supply of coffee, dreading the morning when we will awake to face the day without caffeine.

So when the cheques finally arrive, everybody feels like celebrating. Its a bad habit to be sure, and the excessive expenditure of a few days partying can easily put you back in the skids for the rest of the month, but Human Nature being what it is (?) I guess it can't be helped.

* * * * * * * * * *


It's Welfare evening and just a regular school night for me. I am trying to write an essay. Everyone is drinking red wine, the stereo is blasting, and generally conditions are not conducive to productive thinking. Scum is passed out and oblivious, having got right into the business of getting drunk sometime in the early afternoon.... Blurry is playing around with scraps of food, arranging rotten vegetables in accordance with some aesthetic sense that no-one else can comprehend.

Michael and Don are playing with the dope they have just purchased: they meticulously grind the dry weed through their fingers, fondling it, smelling it, making comments about its quality...

At around 8 o'clock Paul shows up, dressed as usual in suit and tie. He is an infrequent visitor to The Space, mostly because his Wavelength is out of phase with everybody else's. He's basically really manic and can't settle down long enough to have a decent conversation. He stands at the entrance to the front room, surveying his surroundings, seemingly on the verge of turning around and leaving, (as any rational human being might have done). But instead, he comes in and introduces a new level of insanity to the ambience.

"Man, I haven't slept for three days I feel great nothing like it I can tell you this scene is depressing as hell you guys are so flaked out it's disgusting."

I explain to him that my pensive mood is in keeping with the task at hand: I am trying to write an essay. "Your going about it all wrong." he says, motioning to the near empty bottle of wine on the coffee table in front of me. "You're not going to get any inspiration from cheap wine." and saying that he reaches into an inner pocket in his suit jacket, pulling out a baggy filled with white tablets resembling aspirins. "This will charge up your brain a bit."

"What? Caffeine pills?"

"No, amphetamine, the real McCoy. Just take one and see if you like it." I swallow one down in a gulp of red wine. Half an our later I am pounding away at a breakneck pace, ideas cramming my mind:

Religions are counter reactions to the Biological Program. The Biological program urges you to mate, eat, fight and take what you want when you want. Culture is the inhibitory instructions implanted in the frontal lobe. Why are we trying to thwart our animal selves? Look at any religion: a strict program of abstinence. No wonder the notion of dualism came about. Because there appears to be some fundamental difference between the biologic and cultural. Perhaps civilization is the result of some fundamental drive towards mutation. We are gradually learning to reconceive ourselves as something other than the bodies we inhabit. We identify ourselves more according to the beliefs we hold than the particular configuration of molecules that constitutes our physical selves.

I AM the soul, the personality, the ghost in the machine...Or, using the current computer analogy, I AM the software, not the hardware.

Needless to say, I feel Inspired. The fact that this Inspiration might be artificial, chemically induced, seems immaterial. Or maybe not. Maybe mind altering chemicals have been created by God or whatever Supreme Intelligence exists in order that we may escape the limitations of the flesh! Yes! Eureka! [Now to set about recharging the batteries because I feel that the proverbial light bulb is dimming a little]

But as I finish typing I find Paul has gone out to get a case of beer. The Space is filling up with people. Dave is here, and he's brought Lewis, a third-year physics student. Scum has regained consciousness and is pulling the old punk relics out of the record collection and playing them at full volume. Bob (the square John) from downstairs has brought up a couple of teenage girls, one dressed in a cheap imitation fur coat and black spandex pants, the other in a frilly white gown. Definitely looks like a party brewing.

Ronald is circulating, asking for money so he can go out and get some beer. I hand him a five. "That's only enough for a six pack. You're gonna drink more than that aren't you?"

"Well, I've got this essay to write. Difficult stuff: Compare and Contrast the Biologic vs. Cultural definitions of Insanity. I don't think I can afford to get too drunk... But then again it isn't due until Friday Morning..."

I end up forking over another fiver. Minutes later Paul has returned, beaming with Inspiration. What follows is more or less an indecipherable jumble of images: transitions from one end of the Space to the other, dancing around in the front room to some generic synth disco music, shouted conversations devoid of meaning, taking more speed, and banging away on the drums in Don's bedroom as Paul hacks away on a guitar, screaming into a microphone:

"I've tried Coke and L.S.D.

but I always come back to Amphetamines.

I'm tired of getting drunk

and smoking Weed

guess I'll stick to Amphetamines."

The party carries on through the night, all the participants getting drunk and high. By around four thirty pretty much everyone has cleared out. Paul has crashed out on my bed: three days of sleeplessness is evidently his limit. But I'm into my second wind, just getting warmed up. Don, Lewis and I have a good conversation going. It's one of those late-night metaphysical discussions, hedging around the True Nature of Reality, and other esoteric drug induced delusions.


Creative Writing with
[PREVIOUS PAGE] [NEXT PAGE] [Texts Index]