How many times did he try to quit? Every time, if he was like every junkie, and every junkie is like every junkie. Each hit: last one; best hit: next one.

How many long drives, slapping at the radio, playing karma roulette with the tunes–send me a sign, Lord, send me a sign. No, not that sign. No, not that one, either. Learning what it means to white knuckle it when he pried his fingers from the steering wheel, hands still clenched up after the engine’s gone long cold.

How many conversations where he knew he was wrong? No such thing as denial, just junkies telling lies. Junkies are good at telling lies–sometimes it seems like the drugs are just an excuse for bullshit, tangled web you’ve trapped yourself in said the spider to the fly. You’re the spider and the fly, you realize. You realize a lot of things.

How many breaks did he take? Never for good, once and for all, never again: just a break. Always just a break.

How many times did he ask how many more times?

How many times did he slow it down?

How many things he said he’d never do went whizzing by at light speed?

How many grey sunsets, color sucked out of the world through sheer apathy and guttural hatred?

How many more times?

How many hours waiting for the call, waiting for the man. You always gotta wait: first rule of the game. Second rule: fuck you, you did this to yourself. Nobody’s fault but yours.

How many appointments missed, excuses mumbled, friends blown off?

How many lies?

God looks after fools and drunks. The junkies–they’re on their own, man.