When I Was Born for the Seventh Time

by zahra

Utensils required for cooking up:

-Spoon. Cleanliness optional. Extras will get burned off anyway.

-Lighter. Available for sixty-cents at the liquor store or three for a dollar at the Laundromat on the corner. Buying in bulk saves time.

-Tying-off device, preferably a belt or a long strip of rubber. Anything that can be adjusted by using teeth. Do not forget to remove said device lest it cut off circulation to the rest of the body, and you have to get a limb amputated.

-Needle. Cleanliness of which is a concern. Do not share needles with anyone. No matter how good their shit.

-Cotton. Required. Should not be recycled.

-Additive. Citric acid or Vitamin C. Do NOT use vinegar. It will cause blindness.

-Heroin. Not optional.

Lex normally doesn't make lists.

Sometimes there are exceptions.

This particular list is written on the kitchen table in permanent marker.

This isn't Lex's apartment.


People always call marijuana the Gateway Drug, but Lex never believed that. Marijuana never led him anywhere except to the commissary to buy junk food, and he was doing E long before he invested in a dime bag. Besides none of that had anything to do with Shrooms or acid.

One does not necessarily follow the other.

Trying to find a pattern in drugs is like spending too much time looking at those 3-D puzzles. It's all pointless anyway. Heroin, however, has a point. A very nice one.

In the beginning Lex would Chase the Dragon, but it got old real fast.

Shooting up though. That's different.


Left-handed people shoot into their right arm.

Lex is left-handed. He shoots into his right arm, at least until the vein collapses, and he's required to learn how to shoot into his left arm. He might try out the veins in his chest next or the ones in his fingertips. Just to see.

Lex is not going to shoot between his toes. He hates his toes; they're too long. He is not going to shoot into his thigh either, that's far too secretive for him.

Luthors are always proud of everything they do, and Lex has always liked his left arm. He has to work his right arm twice as hard simply because it doesn't get as much use. Only ten percent of the world's population is left-handed, and yet left-handers are more prone to addiction than anyone else. They're also more likely to commit suicide.

It would figure.

Napoleon was left-handed, as was Marilyn Monroe.

Alexander was left-handed, and it explains a lot.

Left-handed people are special.

Lex's dealer is left-handed as well.


Heroin ranges in color from beige to brown.

The rarest is white.

Most people can't get China White anymore.

Lex is not most people.


The needle slides in so easily that it's like the proverbial warm knife through butter. Or an oar through water.

It's three o'clock in the morning and Men's Rowing is on ESPN2.

So far Lex has watched bowling, the Canadian Ironman Triathlon, college football practices and skeet shooting. He needs to change the channel, but he can't find the remote. Correction: he can't bring himself to move to look for it, and when he scratches at his nose the skin flakes.

Lex's skin is dry. He's dehydrated. He hasn't eaten in forever. He hasn't drunk anything, apart from whatever is in Marcus' refrigerator, in days. He's not sure how many days have passed since he broke in.

Marcus isn't his dealer.

Marcus is his friend, lover, pusher, shoot-up buddy, except that Lex doesn't have friends so Marcus isn't really anything.

Marcus is dead.

He died four weeks ago.

Lex should know. He was there.


He opens the window to the fire escape before shooting up at the kitchen table.

He has no idea why.

The sun is shining, but Lex doesn't know what day it is. He doesn't really care.

There are birds chirping somewhere, they must be happy about something. Lex wishes he could be like that, but as he pulls the belt tighter he knows that soon he will be.

Soon nothing else will matter.


There is no reason for Lex to be on this binge.

Richer than Satan, infinitely hotter than Bill Gates, he's got it all. He just doesn't happen to want any of it right now.

Sometimes he hates his life.


Lex did not kill anybody for a hit.

He should call Phalen and tell him that.


Heroin makes people constipated.

Lex hasn't taken a shit in days.

He hasn't taken a piss in days either.

Dehydration plus constipation. It's worrisome.

Lex isn't worried at all.

Someone has probably stolen his car given the neighborhood, but maybe not. He's not even sure where he left it. He may not have even parked it. He doesn't know where the keys are anyway, and he may have left the Porsche running in the street. Double parked. Still, it's not as though he's planning on going somewhere now, and he's always hated orange shag carpeting.

Marcus's apartment has it wall-to-wall.

Oh well.

Lex just needs another hit.

That's all that counts.


Spoon in one hand, lighter in the other.

The smell is acidic and the bubbles are turning brown.

This is good. He can load the gun.

Needle, cotton, and teeth holding the cheap imitation leather so that his veins jump to attention.

Lex's teeth almost cut through the belt though, and it throws him off.

He's impatient, and shooting-up is a process.

Sometimes it takes too long.

The needle is warm in the crook of his arm, left over exposure to the heated spoon; and the way it slides in is like fucking with lubrication. Beautiful.

There's blood in the chamber now, and Lex is about to fly.

He cocks the trigger, and the heroin fires like a bullet gliding through skin and bone.

Every time Lex dies he gets to visit his mother.


There is something cold against the back of Lex's head.

His eyes flutter open , and a hummingbird is flittering near a bush of azaleas. The cold is a park bench, not a gun, and Lex is in front of a caged enclosure. Nothing makes sense.

The belt is still around his left arm, and when Lex walks towards the cage there's a white Bengal tiger pacing back and forth about fifty feet away.

Getting high always makes Lex think too much, but he's not sure how he got to the zoo.

Perhaps if he sits down everything will become clearer.


Lex wakes up in a sterile hospital room and the sun is shining through cheap, plastic blinds.

He's not dead.


His father isn't there either.

Also, typical.

There is a note resting on his lap with a date that means nothing.

Not quite so typical.

Betty Ford means something though.

So do the words 'Smallville.'


Notes: This PSA is brought to you by Irvine Welsh. Do not put tampons in tomato soup. Also, do not do heroin. Seriously.

Title courtesy of Cornershop.

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