musth

Jan. 15th, 2015 05:10 pm
talonkarrde: (color)
[personal profile] talonkarrde
The phone rings, and rings again, and again, and finally goes to voicemail. This is Jared, a familiar voice tells him. I can't get to you right now, but let me know I can do and I'll be there to help. Leave a message!

"Hey," he says, after the beep, "I wouldn't be calling you right now if I didn't need it really badly, but I've just been... it's been bad, you know? I just don't know if I can handle it all, and I'm starting to- it's starting to get to me. I can't handle it anymore, and I've been thinking...bad thoughts. You know?"

He pauses, for a moment, wondering if he should add more, and takes a deep breath.

"I was wondering if you could help," he finishes, and then hangs up.

-
Marin County Police Blotter

In the first few months of 2015, violent crimes are have skyrocketed to at an all time high — reports indicate that there's been a twenty percent rise in violent crimes over the last year. Officials don't seem to have any explanation for it, though, when asked for comment, police chief James Ronaldson said that the city was "looking into all possible causes to get to the root of the matter".

-

He looks at the plastic baggie carefully, at each individual oblong pill that's inside. He counts them, one-two-three-four-five-six-seven-eight-nine, and then again, and again. And then he looks at the small slip of paper that came with the baggy: this'll help. it offers hope. it says, written in an old, familiar scrawl, but use carefully, they say there's some side effects. It should calm you for a long time. After six hours, though, make sure you get enough sleep. so don't take it before two pm.

"This isn't me," he says, hearing his own voice waver just a bit. "I don't need this." It's weak, but it's enough: he sets the bag down on the bed and turns back to his desk. There are two stacks of envelopes on it, and he decides to go for the bad news first.

By the third bill, he's realized that there's not enough money in his account to cover everything. He slowly opens the rest, one at a time, each one finding it harder to look at the red number that screams at him how much he owes someone out there. It gets bad enough that he starts feeling the pounding in his heart as he opens the last few, as he tries to remember how much he owes in total, as he wonders how he'll do it. Eventually, all the letters are out of their envelopes and he lays them down, side by side, looking at each in turn. He orders them by necessity: he can't pay the electricity bill this month, but they'll probably let him go for at least another month before they shut things off. He needs to pay the water bill: that goes on top. The credit cards, the debt collectors from the emergency room trip, the insurance bills, all of those can wait.

He tries to ignore how much more waiting will cost him, tries to ignore the knowledge that more bills will be coming.

He turns to the second, much smaller stack — everything not bills — and sorts through it. A bit of spam, a few coupons he eagerly saves, some offers for debt consolidation that he's long since realized are bullshit, and one actual piece of mail from a local grocery store co-op that had a job opening. He tears it open eagerly, and reads the first line:

I'm sorry, but we're unable to offer you employment, it starts, and he doesn't need to read the rest of it. He's so frustrated he starts crying, sobbing, and he wants to shred the letter, wants to flip the table, wants to punch the wall, but he sees the existing hole in the wall, from a month ago, and it reminds him that he can't pay for repairing anything right now, so he shouldn't break anything.

He angrily wipes away his tears, fingers trembling, and balls up the letter, throwing it against the wall, where it bounces back and lands behind him on the bed, next to the pills.

He stares at the bag.

-
American Medical Association Statement on the Rise of 'masti'

Recently, a rash of emergency department visits have led the American Medical Association to report that a new drug — one popularly referred to as 'masti' — appears to be spreading on the streets. As a synthetic mixture of drugs that seems to have a phenethylamine compound at its core, the American Medical Association tells us that the drug is highly dangerous and its use should be avoided. While the general use of the drug may be difficult to ascertain due to a relatively low-key initial relaxed period, it is followed by a short refractory period where a user's aggression is highly amplified. The American Medical Association recommends that you immediately call 911 if you observe someone that exihibts these symptoms.

-

He's never felt better. He's been following the instructions religiously and hasn't had any side effects, are far as he can tell. He's simply felt more at ease than he's ever been, taking one of these pills every day — some days, he doesn't even need them. He's even read up on the pills a bit, just to soothe his conscience, though if he's honest he admits that he didn't follow after it started talking about methyl groups and neurotransmitter agonists. What it comes down to, he figures, is that it's not illegal yet and it's helping stabilize his life. He's started working part time at a liquor store and the pile of bills has shrunk from fifteen to five — though he has a few maxed credit cards to get through, still, he doesn't feel as hopeless anymore. Or, at least, he doesn't feel as hopeless as long as he's taken his masti for the day. He's gotten a few refills on from his friend, who seems happy to help him out.

The most recent batch is better than ever. It came with a note that said it was 'pure', and he'd agree — he's been feeling incredibly at ease, super patient, and honestly just okay with everything. All of his friends say that he seems to have really calmed down. The only weirdness has been that sometimes he wakes up in the morning and his arms and legs are sore, occasionally with fresh bruises on them, and he's woken up once or twice with everything that was on his nightstand a mess on the floor. Small side effects, he figures, but they're a tiny price to pay for getting his life back in order.

-

Hey, David — we're going to need you to come in early tomorrow, around 6am, to prep stock for Black Friday. Would you mind? It'd be double-overtime and a half, his voicemail tells him at 6pm. Once upon a time he would've been irritated, but now he simply thinks of the upsides. He calls back, telling them that it'd be perfectly fine, and thinks that this will be just the thing to pay off the last card. He's been doing everything responsibly, and this is no different — he even goes to sleep early, making sure that he's well rested for the next day.

In the middle of the night, though, he also wakes up, and just feels angry, for some reason. He looks around: his lamp doesn't look quite right. Why the hell did he even have that thing? He takes a swipe at it, knocking it to the ground, and nods in satisfaction. Screw that thing, he thinks. Shitty piece of decoration. He's good enough to buy another one. He looks around, but nothing else quite irritates him as much, and eventually, he falls back asleep.

When he wakes up, though, he's confused — he remembers something about the lamp, but why would he break it? It was a perfectly good lamp, he thinks. He spends some time picking up the pieces, and then just feels drained, and doesn't really want to go to work, but he promised he would be, after all. While he usually doesn't take a pill until later in the day, he figures that doing it just this once should be fine — it'll mean having a much better morning, anyway, and he'll probably be able to take off early, anyway.

-

"Hey David — would you mind staying for another couple of hours? The other stocker didn't show up, and we'd hate to lean on you like this, but we just need you for another hour or two."

"Honestly, I should get home..."

"Just another hour, then? It'll make a huge difference, and we'll give you a bonus for it?"

"Just an hour? I guess, yeah."

-
The Marin County Independent Journal

Local Florida man David Johnston was shot and killed today after an incredibly violent outburst at the liquor store that he's worked at for two months now. Witnesses reported that shortly after 1pm, Johnston started becoming incredibly belligerent, smashing bottles and yelling at everyone to get out of the store, that he was going to burn it down. When an individual attempted to calm him down, Johnston lunged at the individual and started viciously beating him — using not only his hands and feet but also his teeth. The individual suffered a few broken ribs and a broken collarbone, as well as multiple bites, and described Johnston as "a demon possessed". An off-duty cop was on the scene and attempted to intervene, but instead of stopping, Johnston's response was to attack the officer, who unfortunately was forced to defend himself. Another witness said that the officer had to shoot Johnston multiple times before he even showed signs of slowing, and that Johnston looked like "an animal, snarling and biting and rabid."

This attack appeared to be completely unprovoked and police are currently investigating Johnston's history. Surprisingly, friends said that he was a really good guy, someone who wouldn't wish anyone harm, and exhibited surprise that 'the most patient person they knew' would've done something like this. "He had really turned his life around, recently," said Jared Temple, a longtime friend. "I don't know why he'd do such a thing."

Date: 2015-01-16 03:32 am (UTC)
jexia: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jexia
Sadly believable :( NZ has had a quite a few violent incidents involving P, including someone who robbed an RSA (Returned Soliders' Association) with a machete, and chopped someone's hands off.

Date: 2015-01-19 12:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] talon.livejournal.com
Oof. Stuff like this is terrifying :(

Date: 2015-01-16 04:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] suesniffsglue.livejournal.com
Wow. Really effective way to tell your story. The news story at the end added so much for me. This was a really creative approach to the prompt.

Date: 2015-01-19 12:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] talon.livejournal.com
Thank you!

Date: 2015-01-16 06:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lrig-rorrim.livejournal.com
The quiet despair in this piece is really good. I mean, really sad, but really well-expressed.

Date: 2015-01-19 12:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] talon.livejournal.com
When you have no choices left...

Date: 2015-01-16 09:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kickthehobbit.livejournal.com
This...reminds me rather a lot of what happened with a friend of mine after he became addicted to cocaine (and, well, later, something else).

I feel odd saying it, but you write about addiction really well and the weird spiral that it draws you into. This was hard to read but...well-done.

Date: 2015-01-19 12:47 am (UTC)

Date: 2015-01-17 01:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] i-17bingo.livejournal.com
this'll help. it offers hope.

Oh, yeah. That's not shady.

You really brought us deep into sympathy with this character; as someone who has depended on drigs throughout his life--both pharmaceutical and "herbal"; both for good and for bad--I highly doubt I would do things differently than David. And that's what makes a story like this particularly scary.

Date: 2015-01-19 12:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] talon.livejournal.com
Yeah - there's something to be said about how much brain chemistry tweaking we do nowadays.

Date: 2015-01-18 12:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alycewilson.livejournal.com
Great take on the prompt.

Date: 2015-01-19 12:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] talon.livejournal.com
Thanks!

Date: 2015-01-18 07:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] halfshellvenus.livejournal.com
I hadn't realized this was a real drug!

This makes me think of Fight Club, but internalized to the ultimate degree.

I feel for this character. His surges of anger are nothing that he wants or needs, but he can't get them under control. :(

Date: 2015-01-19 02:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] talon.livejournal.com
It's not! Er. I think? I based it off a combination of drugs and a few medical papers I've read recently on aggression and drug interactions.

Date: 2015-01-18 11:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hosticle-fifer.livejournal.com
I didn't know this was a real drug until I read the comments. Yikes - it's like a Xanax followed by bath salts. The inexorable march towards what we knew was coming was full of a low dread just under the surface, excellent job!

Date: 2015-01-19 12:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] talon.livejournal.com
Wait. It's not! Or at least, I didn't think it was. I made it up - the aggressiveness comes from PCP, the high from weed, and the interaction a more aggressive form of withdrawal that some medical studies have shown to exist. Though now that I think of it, there's almost certainly some form out there.

Date: 2015-01-19 08:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] crisp-sobriety.livejournal.com
Oh, damn, poor guy. I just can't get over how close he was to fixing things.

This is great, as always!

Date: 2015-01-19 10:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jem0000000.livejournal.com
Poor guy. What a difficult spiral to deal with.

Date: 2015-01-19 11:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] roina-arwen.livejournal.com
Great take on the prompt, and all too believable.

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