I think I’m dying. I found a gray hair in my hack this morning. Monica thinks it’s nothing; that I’m overreacting, that I should settle down. She left to get groceries half an hour ago, and I’m still stuck in the bathroom unable to look away from the mirror. My bathrobe is just as tattered as me. There’s hardened toothpaste crowning the lip of the sink, remnants of days passed. I’m over the hill, yesterday’s work. My feathers have turned to dust and withered away. There’s nothing left of my glory years, my life passing by at supersonic speed. I remember the Magna Carta and not much else—events blur as I continue staring at my wrinkled, bony face in the mirror clutching my toothbrush and trying not to cry. It’s been three months since Guantanamo. I haven’t really processed it yet. When Monica comes home, she calls for me and I don’t answer. I can’t find the will or the strength to respond to the love of my life because I’m not long for this world.
“Honey? Honey? Hon?… Hon?… Where are you, hon?…” My eyes are bloodshot, I think I burst a vessel. I dropped my toothbrush and the water is still running, and I’m crying in place. Monica turns the corner and finds me fixed in the bathroom. She rushes to my side, slapping me across the beak, trying harder and harder to get my attention. My voice is paralyzed, and I can only contort my face into something so terrible she has to call an ambulance. I fall back and hit my head on the toilet, and go out. All I remember is Monica crying my name.
Back in the hospitals. In my life, I’ve loved them all. Strapped to an IV and pumped full of painkillers—now I’m right again. This God stuff. What was I thinking? It was a substitute. I was on so many opiates for so long in the hospital after Guantanamo that I went through a kind of spiritual withdrawal, and instead of sucking dick for black tar, I found God and the Bible. I thought I'd had a theophany in Bermuda but now I questioned even that. The room was golden brown and the TV was turned on with the sound off. Donald Trump was talking, that fuck. I hate how he’s influencing Bennington and using him for cheap diversity on the campaign trail. I wonder how John Boehner is doing in solitary confinement. I’ve no idea where Monica is. Maybe I should call the nurse, ask for a phone. I’ve no idea what time it is because, once again, there are no windows in my hospital room. But it’s very nice: a suite, with space for four beds and a little mini-bar underneath the TV. But I’m all alone. I thought I needed God but I didn’t, I just needed this. Sweet relief. The needle and the damage done.
Show me a study that says roosters can become addicted to opiates and I’ll spur claw you to death. Opiates are good for me. I think I’ll finagle my way into my own supply, bypass the hospital from now on unless absolutely necessary. I’m dying, after all. No Quibbits has ever lived a year past his first gray hair. I click the button for the nurse over and over but I don’t mind being ignored, I’m blissed out. But then the doorknob turns and it’s no woman in white. A man walks in wearing all black leather and a ski mask. I smile and wait to die. But he stops, pauses, and lifts his mask. John Boehner. He collapses at the side of my bed, and he looks up at me, gripping my claw, “I’m not going to let you die.” I close my eyes, sweet relief: he’s gonna hook me up. I know he knows where to get unmarked bottles of pure Dilaudid and clean needles.
But then the rest of them walk in: Monica, Bennington, Hokey, Mike Doughty, Bishop Bosnan. So this is how it is: all of my friends are out to get me. They don’t want me to feel well. Boehner is crying, still holding my claw: “We just want you to get well, Rooster.” No you don’t. None of you know what I need! Monica starts talking about treatment plans, I recoil, and then she starts laying down ultimatums. Bennington looks down at me like he’s always wanted to. Doughty lays out every step of the recovery process, volunteering to be my sponsor. Hokey just stands there and picks his butt. I think I’m dying, but I don’t want to go.
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