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[Ongoing story: brother James has found Merrill at the motel after he’s relapsed.]

I don’t remember James showing up. But now he’s next to me on the floor and I’m remembering the ugly motel room carpet. That was the last thing I had in my head and then this. He’s talking to me and I just want to sleep. I want to stay curled up but I know what’s coming. Nothing anyone wants to wait for. Get me another hit, another deep rush of paradise. Hell. Same. Happens in a nanosecond. Love and the devil. It starts to fade the minute it hits you. The best feeling in the world and it’s okay to sleep. Better than sleep. And I ended up here on the floor.

James keeps talking to me and I want him to shut up. Don’t talk to me. Leave me alone. I can feel it coming, way in the distance, like headlights out there on the desert highway. A guy can be far far away from you but you see the pin point of a light coming. It’s coming at me. I want something else. I stay in a ball, curled into myself. I can’t let it hit me.

Shut up, James. i want out of this, but I don’t want you. I don’t want you seeing me like this. Somebody else is talking too. Should we call an ambulance. Do we need the police. James’ voice is sharp. He’s got it covered. He tells the person with the worried voice to go away. James is saying my name softly and he’s shaking me and he’s telling me we got to stand up. I feel him pulling on my shoulders. Then he tries my waist. But my legs don’t want to hold me.

Stop it, James. Just leave me alone. Shit, I don’t want you here. He’s calling me and tugging on me. I’m out again but then he’s got me up and draped around his shoulders. Walk, Merrill, he says again and again and again. Walk, bro. We gotta get you walking. I don’t want to walk. I don’t want him to see me like this.

I stumble around connected to my brother. We are one, otherwise I’d fall on the floor. I remember where I am. The motel instead of my place. I didn’t want this to happen at my place. Not James, not my apartment. This is separate from them. Both of them.

Walk, Merrill. You gotta stand on your own feet. Try to stand up. I try, I really try. But it’s hard and I want to sleep. Can’t I just go back to the floor. It don’t want to walk. I want to be in this place as long as I can. But I see it coming, the pin point of light that means the shit is moving out of me and that’s what I don’t want more than anything else. James is getting me to sober up and that pin point of light is getting bigger. This is not going to end the way I want it to. Nothing ever does. With me.

Merrill, bro, you gotta walk. Walk, you shithead. Walk.

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