He popped the tablets, cupped his hand beneath the spigot, clapped the water to his mouth. Immediately he felt his eyeballs sucked dry, his skin begin to fizz. He grinned and it felt like his mouth was crammed with a thousand teeth. He took a running start and tried to skate on the sizzle, but the floor was not as slippery as his soul was and he felt himself slide out of his body and keep on going before snapping back like a rubber band to look out through his eye holes once again.
A pair of lips stretched around the corner to whisper into his ear: you’ve got fifteen minutes to destroy this joint. Go. And then he was slapping up the stairs with a strap around his neck and standing on stage and the others were there waiting and without a moments breath they opened fire, the four of them blistering through their set with flashbulbs popping inside his skull as with every note he died and kept on dying and every bead of blood burned, every scream a scattering of acid spat buckshot blasts peppering the walls and filing the room with smoking constellations, even if it all just the swirl of dirt in a bucket of mop water, even if the arms of the galaxy were covered with track marks and cigarette burns, it was all beautiful beyond belief, it was still everything, it was still just rock and roll.
Of course there was the inevitable drop, the sink, the slow. The gray flesh sagging, the creaking numbness, the weary wobble. Eyelids drooping lower and lower. Flesh webbed with cracks. Still he continued, stood there weaving, thin as the mike stand, gravel stuck in his gums. He watched his friends wither, or immolate themselves, or get ripped to shreds. Handfuls of paint flesh thrown into his eyes. He traded the old pills for new ones to soothe those tender organs. And still he kept on, voice digging new holes in the sand even as the water kept seeping in. Then one day he realized he wasn’t just moving slowly anymore, he’d stopped. Everyone was shaken up. Even though they had secretly expected it to happen years before, because it hadn’t, and I think we all just thought that maybe it never would. But it did, and things will never be the same.
in memory of Lou Reed