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“Actually, Thomas, I think I might pass on your offer. I have work to do.”
“Is that right? Then I’ll send Simon over tomorrow to pick up my money. How’s that sound?” Simon is the thuggish errand boy Thomas uses to collect money. It has been said that he is the latest reincarnation of Genghis Khan. Partially because of Simon’s sexual prowess with Asian women, but mainly for his ability to destroy any that oppose him.
“That sounds lovely.” You lie. “Simon has a wonderful eye for art.”
“Yeah, it really matches his wonderful fist.” Thomas replies. Stuttering attempts at bravery try to come out, but Thomas hangs up before they can.
Returning the phone, you start thinking of how to make $220 in a day. Most are illegal, and one is just painful. Your heart is jumping as the mental list of possibilities comes to mind. Upon returning toyour door you see Aydin standing in his doorway, just across your apartment. Oh, God, he’s waiting for rent. This only adds to the worries.
“How much do I owe you this month, Aydin?” you ask, disappointed in the day of painting now wasted thanks to creditors.
“You no pay me yet, Icarus. You pay after I fix door.”
“What?” Aydin’s remark becomes clear after a try at the door knob of your hole. It refuses to yield. After several more endeavored turns of the knob, you attack the door itself, slamming your sweaty palms on the wood until they start to hurt.
“Hey, I fix by three, just wait,” Aydin yells.
“I can’t wait that long, Aydin. I need to be somewhere. Why the hell would you close the door if it was broken?” you ask. If I break the door down, I’ll be able to get inside. But then Aydin will just add the damages to my rent. As long as I can—oh no.
Suddenly everything comes crashing down in a terrifying physical sensation: the reeling. Your body starts to shake, and you notice the cold sweat running under your arms and on your brow. Getting inside becomes a much more serious matter now; otherwise, things will get much worse much faster. In an aggressive show of domination your body has begun to throw a fit, a strike, a physical shutdown in protest of the time that has passed since you had your last fix: you’re going through early withdrawal.
“Aydin, please open the door!” Your knees hurt from standing, and you slowly fall to the ground. Only more pain now. “Break the door down, Aydin! This is serious!”
Your withdrawal symptoms shock the old man into action. He rushes towards you.
“Icarus, what is wrong with you?” he exclaims.
“Just get me in the apartment.” The old Turk kicks down the door with gusto and moves you inside.
“Now what?” Aydin lets you slip from his arms.
Looking around, the only visible feature is your bed: one of many stash spots. There a syringe is taped to the box frame. After finding the stash, the needle frantically plunges into your arm, along with its hammer. Aydin’s presence is irrelevant. The only important thing in life now is the new feeling of happiness rushing over the pain of the needle. Breathe, breathe deep, starry child.
“Icarus, you use the drugs? You should have told me.” You expect to hear a lecture from Aydin. On more than one occasion, drug addicts have used the transitional housing bloc that the landlord operates with poor results. Eviction after eviction is proof of this. But it doesn’t matter what he says. For right now, a little bit of God is dancing through your veins. “I know lots of the drugs!” What?
Aydin’s confession has pulled your mind away from the musty percolation of the heroin. You’re sure you heard Aydin correctly, but need to make sure. The Turk has more than a few English problems and you’ve literally just taken a hit of heroin. “Aydin,” you say grabbing your landlord’s calf from your position on the floor, “are you telling me you have, and are okay with me using, drugs?”
“Of course, I am from Turkey! We make very good the drug!”
Astounded with your landlord’s frank reply, you ask him if he has any “drug” on him. He laughs and tells you he has stopped using since his youth. However, he does tell you his nephew has come to Chicago for a visit, and that he usually brings a great deal of drugs whenever he travels. Elated, you lift yourself shakily off the floor and ask where you can find his nephew. Aydin smiles and explains that he is meeting his nephew at the docks at noon, for which reason he had postponed fixing the door. Seeing the happiness in your eyes when he tells you this Aydin obligatorily asks, “Would you like to come meet him with me?” to which you reply with a confident,
“Oh, God yes.”
Aydin laughs at your answer, and asks you to wait while he finds his shoes. Now alone (and more than high), an idea begins to formulate. One that is full of wit and villainy, and a slight prejudice towards Turks. Once I meet Aydin and his nephew, the three of us will get well acquainted. Then, I’ll separate the two from wondering eyes and rob them blind. If the nephew is holding as much as I think he is, it should be well more than $220 on the streets of downtown Chicago. After that, I’ll find another rundown apartment (one preferably run by anyone except Eastern Europeans) and continue living as the artist I so obviously am.
You smile as you put the finishing touches on your scheme. In your mind, you’re wearing a hat as you rob them. Where do people get hats? The haberdashery? They can’t all be getting them there. Otherwise it’s all I’d be hearing about when people talk about hats. Although, hats are all I hear about when I hear about Haberdasheries. Does that make sense? If I hear about one thing in relation to another thing, does that mean the first thing is exclusively related to the second thing? Or does it mean the second thing has nothing to associate itself with other than the first thing? Which thing is the hat? What am I questioning here? Your thoughts pause while you try to remember. Where people get hats! Right. Is there anything to associate with a haberdashery other than hats? A realization comes. People get hats at the pharmacy! I’ve seen it! I’ll have to stop by after the theft, make the crime official.
Aydin returns with his shoes. He sports brown leather shoes of a quality you find surprising.
“Aydin, what shoe size are you?”
“Ten and a half,” he casually replies.
“Me too,” you reply. I’ll have to steal Aydin’s shoes as well. Hopefully I can buy a hat that matches them.
You and Aydin walk out of the apartment and split a cab to the docks. When the cabbie asks where to go, Aydin replies nonchalantly, “Lake Michigan.” as if that answer were appropriate. Oddly enough your cabbie drives to docks. Upon arriving there, you make sure to exit the car before the cabbie announces your bill. You assume Aydin has paid, since the cab zooms past leaving a distinct gas smell among the pungent smell of fish and polluted water the docks have to offer. Looking over your shoulder you see Aydin walk forward. You lie that you forgot your wallet at home and are willing to pay him back later. He smiles at the remark and starts to walk towards the boats. The docks contain a collective of both useful and leisurely vessels. From them all kinds of men emerge with tools and personas of all calibers. The dank waters and aroma of fish consume olfactory senses as you continue with Aydin across the planked and concrete walkways. Midday reflects light across the waters and onto the world. Combined with the high of your heroin the world attains a glossy bliss. Down at least five blocks you pass several fishermen, many seamen, and a congregation of prostitutes.
After passing nine prostitutes, Aydin stops. He inspects a large red fishing boat. Two men carry a large crate walk out of the boat with little difficulty. As the two of them step off the boat a third man steps out onto the gangway. As he is the only one Aydin runs to it is clear this man must be Aydin’s nephew.
The two embrace in a hug and immediately start to converse in their native language onboard the little boat. This must be a tender exchange for them. Ought to leave them alone in their introductions. This is good since your heroin has reached its apex of effect. Gazing upwards the sky dazes with clouds and a never ending sleepy blue. Puffy clouds with rolled mounds of white vapor swish and sway around the world above. Occasionally a bird or two impresses with the ability to run and slide in 3-dimensional maneuvers in the sky. To be a bird, what a life. On the return back to Earth a jolt of surprise is had, because for no real reason, Aydin and his nephew are staring directly at you. Now only a foot away from you the two continue speaking in whatever language the Turks speak (Turkish) in your direction. Aydin’s nephew slaps your side and grabs your lips. He raises them high and low. You assume this is an odd Turkish custom. After he finishes, the nephew and Aydin shake hands. The nephew then yells something to the two men who are still carrying crates off the vessel. Understanding the call, they place the latest crate down and start to approach. Aydin’s nephew then nods to you charmingly; this looks to be a good time to introduce yourself.
“Hello, my name is Icarus Holmes. I’m a tenant in your uncle’s apartm—”
Suddenly a burly forearm strikes the back of your head and knocks you to the ground. You look up to see the two crate-carrying men standing above you.
“Help!” you scream as they lift you. “Mugging!” you resist, but these seamen have muscles built from years of hard labor, while for the past three weeks you have only been lifting paintbrushes and syringes, one more than the other. “Aydin, help! I’m being mugged!”
Your landlord smiles while the two men carry you onto the boat. “You are not being mugged, Icarus,” Aydin joyfully replies. “you are being sold.”
“You sold me?” you cry.
“Yes,” Aydin says, this time laughing. “You are bad tenant. Addicts make terrible renters.”
“Also, you wanted my shoes; I saw how you looked at them.”
“That’s a lie!” you scream as the two men bring you below deck. There they beat you unconscious and you black out.