Me, Myself and I

Contributor: Christopher E. Long

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Pete lies atop a plastic mattress cover on a bed. He’s in a fetal position and the flap is open in the back of his hospital gown. His body is deflated like a balloon, and he has dark circles around his bloodshot eyes. There’s a four-leaf clover tattoo on his neck, which is pretty ironic because Pete feels like the unluckiest person alive.

The only light in the room comes from under the door, illuminating the drain in the middle of the tiled floor where human fluids are washed away.

“You look like shit.”

Pete turns his head toward the steel door, but nobody is there. His arms strain under his weight as he pushes himself up. “Hello?”

A teen-ager steps out of the darkness, wearing ripped jeans, a flannel shirt, and a patch of peach fuzz on his chubby face. “You’re a mess.”

Mustering all his strength, Pete plants his feet on the cold floor. “Can I help you?”

“It’s a little late for that.”

“Who are you?”

“I’m you.” The boy steps closer, and says, “ten years ago, when you were nineteen.”

Pete squints and looks closely at the boy hovering over the bed. He looks vaguely familiar, like a shadow from the past. There’s something about him that tugs at his memory. “I don’t remember being that fat.”

“The pounds melt away once we start smoking heroin,” the boy says. “Guess that means I have something to look forward to. Thanks.”

Pete rubs his face, and says, “Oh, that’s just great. I get all the blame.”

“I’ve never done heroin, have I?”

“You’re too busy taking horse tranquilizers.”

“I’m thinking about becoming a veterinarian,” the boy says, looking around the dark room with a disapproving stare. “This place is a dump. Can't we afford to go to a better rehab?”

Pete tries to stand up, but falls back onto the bed. “With what we make? I don’t think so.”

“How much is that?”

“Nineteen grand.”

“A month.”

“A year.”

“Jesus Christ!” the boy says. “What do we do for a living?”

“Deliver flowers.”

“We went to college, right?”

“Got a degree in English,” Pete says. “But it’s hard to hold down a good job when we’re scoring drugs full time.”

The boy moves toward the bed, and says, “Scoot over. I’m depressed as hell.”

Pete slides over and allows the boy to plop down next to him. “Are we still dating Stacy?”

“I broke up with her last week,” the boy says.

“We regret that all through our twenties.”

A man wearing designer jeans and shirt, expensive shoes, and a silk scarf wrapped around his neck appears out of nowhere.

“And who the hell are you?” Pete asks.

“I’m you in ten years,” the man says.

The boy looks at Pete, then the man. “Bullshit.”

The man unwraps the scarf from his neck, revealing the four-leaf clover tattoo. “See.”

Pete stares at the well-dressed man with admiration, like a proud parent. “We certainly clean up well, don’t we?”

“If you stay sober, things get better,” the man says. “We end up owning the Hoopla Flower Shop.”

“A flower shop,” the boy says, shaking his head.

“And if you lay off the gluten,” the man continues, motioning toward the boy, “you won’t balloon up like tubby there.”

“Watch it,” the boy says.

The man leans in next to Pete. “Do you still live next to David?”


“When you start dating, don’t do anything to screw it up, okay?”

“What? We’re not gay,” Pete says.

The man winks, and says, “Not yet anyway.”

The boy jumps on the man and forces him to the ground, repeatedly punching him in the face. “I’m no queer!” He continues to beat the man until his face is unrecognizable. Breathing heavily, the boy leans over the lifeless body and inspects it. “He’s dead.”

Suddenly, the bleeding man pulls pruning shears from his pocket, plunging it deep into the soft flesh of the boy’s neck. Blood falls to the floor like crimson rain. The dead boy falls on top of the man, their lifeless bodies piled on top of each other.

Pete stares at the bodies, shakes his head and says, “Kicking dope sucks.”

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My publication credits include numerous articles and short stories in magazines, including Flaunt, 30 Days of Night: Bloodsucker Tales, and Thuglit. My writing for comic books has been published by a variety of publishers, including Marvel Comics, DC Comics, IDW Publishing and Image Comics.
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