I descry the land with half shut eyes. The sun is too bright and hot. There is nothing green here. There’s movement in the high branch of the lone and barren tree not far from me. The raven calls. This is not Los Angeles. The scenery looks like something straight out of an Edgar Allan Poe story. I run my fingers through my hair. I should have put it up before I left…
My skin is clammy and sweat is beading on my brow. It won’t be long now. The full side-effects from going cold turkey just two days ago will hit me like a freight train. That’s the bad thing about the drug. One day without it and you feel like your body will tear off piece by piece and hair by hair. Two days I’ve walked in this god-forsaken desert. Two days. Who ever wanted me dead did a helluva job by dropping me off here. One more day in this heat might actually kill me. Slowly, I’ll die from dehydration. It might be another four days before I come to any type of civilization. I kick a small rock while I walk. I’ll have to take a break soon. The blisters on my feet are growing to the size of my palm. I lick my lips to moisten them but all they do is hurt. Whoever dropped me off put a good beaten on me too. My lip is still swollen and cracked although my eye isn’t swollen shut anymore.
I sit on a large rock to rest. I’ll sleep by this at night. Maybe tomorrow I’ll find something or someone, not likely, but maybe. Not much to do in the middle of nowhere, except for think and drive yourself crazy. I chuckle as I visualize the headlines. ‘Doctor’s Daughter: Gone Missing or Dead.’ Oh, ‘Met Her Match’, ‘Taken or Running Away’. Yeah, he’ll be mad about that too. Not like that matters to me now. I’ll be dead by the end of the week and he’ll be hiding his face for years with all the stunts I pulled.
I look at the stars for most of the night. It’s too cold for this place to be so hot during the day. I haven’t slept well since I’ve been here. There are no sounds. I can pass out in the nosiest clubs but give me a silent room and I won’t sleep.
The morning brings relief and depression all at once. My feet ache something fierce but I walk on. In the distance I can see a dark shape. The closer I get, the more anxious I feel. But the anxiousness could be from withdrawals. Too bad I don’t have any more of those magic little pills. It begins. The aching in my limbs becomes almost unbearable. The sun is so hot my skin is on fire. My hair itches. My legs feel like runny pudding and my head pounds. So much for finding civilization today, all I want now is more sleep. Even if it’s in the burning sun and quiet.
If I live to see tomorrow the withdrawals will be worse then. They call it sky diving when a person goes cold turkey from the drug. They go through the withdrawal, the hell like symptoms until their system is nearly clean then when the convulsions start they pop in another pill to achieve the ultimate high. I’ve watched it happen. Legit people go psycho leaving the pill. Believe of me what you will, but I am not that suicidal.
Forget Molly, DXM, Georgia Home Boy or the good oldies crank, snow or x. My little friend has a better trip than acid and is more addictive than antifreeze. I’ve tried them all and that is why I created pink panties. PP or panties for short; after sampling my first batch, I lost my pink panties. Plus I love the look on a hustler’s face when they ask for my drug. You have it all figured out don’t you? I’m a badass drug dealer who was sold out and left for dead. You don’t. I’m cleverer than you think. How else would I get away with stealing narcotics from my father’s pharmacy for six years? It was this last time batch that did me in. I broke the golden rule in the drug dealing business, never trust anyone.
I was so high I thought I would never come down. I was running low on supply and a big time dealer wanted goods. The largest order of panties I’ve ever made. I wanted this deal to go good. I needed it too. If I wanted to break into the drug underworld I needed this deal. Those large rolls in my pocket wanted company.
Like all the times before, Derrick and I slip in the back where the camera laps around 2am. They cut back on the security to save money. Stupid, greedy bastards. We grab the supplies and get the hell out of there. Derrick gets twitchy if we’re in there too long. On and off again Derrick is my second hand man. I got him hooked on panties after hoarding the first few batches to myself. Pink panties are so good I didn’t want to share.
We get in the car ready to peel out and the shitter doesn’t start. I’m too stingy to buy a new car and it looks suspicious if a burn out buys a brand new one. Just as I’m telling Derrick to look under the hood, he knocks me out cold. Fucking Derrick. Eight years he waited to sell me out. Fucking Derrick.
I begin to drag my feet instead of picking them up. I’ll be in real trouble in about a half hour. I focus on the dark shape directly in front of me. I want to live. It doesn’t matter to me right now how miserable my life will be if I live, just as long as I live. I took life for granted. That’s the reason I ended up in this mess. I had a life most would fight for, appreciate, and maybe even kill for. But what I did was squander it for the party scene.
The dark shape gets bigger then smaller. Not sure what to believe anymore. The old Indian left and said he’d pray to the spirit gods for my safe return. Whatever the hell that means. I thought he was a bird. The sun is too hot to melt. If I could swing my legs, I’d get there. There, where is there? Where is where? Fucking Derrick.
The sun wasn’t this color when I left. It’s too white. Whatever is making that sound I will smash it if it doesn’t stop. Who is touching me?
My eyes are heavy. My limbs feel a hundred pounds each as I try to rip away from the person touching me.
“Now there sweetness, you relax. You’ll be able to move within a few hours. Until then I need you to hold real still.” Her faint accent makes me worry. How far am I from home?
Too soon I’m taken by the black. No more questions. No more worries.
Coming to, burns like hell fire. My veins coarse with lava as my limbs shake in convulsions. Hammering, spinning out of control in my head makes me beg for mercy, for panties, anything to end my misery.
Water. I need water to cool off. Water to take the burn away, water to wash it all away, but I still can’t lift my limbs. Too weak for water. Soon the black comes for me again.
I wake up as she walks into the room. She doesn’t look up from her clipboard until she’s bedside.
“Good afternoon sweetness. How are we feeling today?”
I want to tell her to shove her accent and “sweetness” where the sun doesn’t shine. But what comes out is a fumble of words, a clusterfuck mess.
“Well you just hang tight until the doc comes in to see you. I’m sure he’ll explain it to you bett’r than I can. I’ve come to check your fluids. You’ll be fine until I see you again.”
She nods and walks out, kicking up the stale air. Bleach and dust is what it smells like. Like they use bleach to clean the dust but the air is dust so the bleach doesn’t do any damn good. A small rap at the door draws my attention and damn he’s a dime. The type my father would be proud of to have as a son-in-law. About my age, fresh from med school I’m guessing, stuck out here for who know what reason. No one wants to be in this hell hole.
“I’m Dr. Bryant, the attending physician. You seem to be doing better after that nasty withdrawal you had. Besides that, a few stitches above your eye, and more fluids than a small ocean, you’ll make a full recovery.” He checks my vitals and makes brief eye contact as my chest beats. I want to flirt and look sexy for him. Don’t see that possible with stitches though. I reach a hand to the tightness in my skin on my left eye brow.
“Don’t touch.” He grabs my wrist mid-air and takes my pulse. His hand is warm and tan compared to mine.
“Good. I’ll check back in a few hours. Do you have a name?”
I’ve been here who knows how long and they don’t know my name? Do they not watch TV or live under a rock? I contemplate giving him a false name; a few reasons come to mind but mainly to escape.
“Lively Strater.” His pen hesitates. He knows. Soon they all will know.
“As in Dr. Strater?”
“Well, Ms. Strater,-”
“Liv, is fine.”
“Liv, I’ll be back in a couple of hours to check on you.” To my surprise he doesn’t turn to the nearest nurse and spew his guts out. He continues walking past the nurse’s station on down the hall.
Alone again. Although this alone feels more alone than ever. It’s all Derrick’s fault. I need a plan. A plan to get back home then beat Derrick like he beat me. It’ll be the last thing he sees is me standing over him with a clenched fist.
What I wouldn’t give for some panties. They help me think. They help me plan. I have to have them back. I got to get back into the game. Only now I’ll have competition. Ha. Derrick thinks he’s won just because I showed him what ingredients to use. He’ll never get the formula right. They won’t turn pink until they reach a certain temperature. Fucking Derrick; he will always be the amateur. I don’t know what it was about him that kept me going back to him. Except he sure the hell was fun to party with.
My gang hasn’t even come looking for me. Typical druggies too busy getting to the next high than to realize someone is missing. I noticed when someone was missing. I just didn’t care. It was their loss if they weren’t partying with the best. It was their loss if they were sobering up because they’re “over” the party stage. They “had fun while it lasted” they would say. I would laugh in their face, and follow up by why shouldn’t it last? It’s then I understood there are three types of people in the world: the followers, who give in; the wanna-be’s, who resist at first then cave after prodding; the leaders, who stand their ground and never return to the drug realm.
The wallpaper is peeling in the corner. I’m tempted to tear it down just for something to do. There’s no TV and no radio. What kind of hospital is this? LA had the best hospitals, at least the ones I ended up at. Then again everyone recognized me in LA. If my face wasn’t plastered in the family photos of my father’s campaign, it was in the headlines or police blotter. I’ve only been caught a few times by the police. Fewer times, yet, I couldn’t bribe, talk or preform my way out of. Damn those honest cops. In a way I have to thank those honest cops. If it wasn’t for their publicity of “carry an unknown drug”, panties wouldn’t have taken off like they did. Curiosity is the curse of man.