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by Frank Duff

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559 Nathan Abbott Way


Three weeks earlier, Johnny poured himself another drink. He had worked his way through the four beers in the fridge over the course of an hour and had started in on the pure ethanol he and Lyle used as a solvent. You couldn't drink it straight of course, unless you wanted to dissolve your taste buds, but it went nicely with orange juice.

When Johnny drank, he had something of a nasty tendency to do so alone. This tendency was nasty only in a social sense, of course. Johnny was by no means an alcoholic, nor was he a violent or melancholy drunk. It just so happened that in early twenty-first century North America, the entire society was fostering the illusion that ethanol was not a drug. Johnny however had no delusions concerning his status as a user of drugs.

As it happened Johnny wasn't truly drinking alone that night. Well, he was alone in drinking, but not in the apartment. A mere four metres away Johnny's roommate and business partner, Lyle, was going through the following emotional states in rapid succession: confusion, concern, fear, anger.




"Yeah? I'm listening, whaddya want?"

"Johhny! Look at me!"

"Dude! I'm watching a fucking movie."

At this point Lyle stepped in front of Johnny and turned the TV off.

"What the fuck?"

"Johnny, where did the acid that was on my dresser go?"

"I sold it. Isn't that the fucking point? Maybe I've been wrong about this whole process from the start, but aren't we trying to make money here? If you want me to stop selling the fucking drugs, you should tell me now so I can go back to watching my fucking movie."

Johnny and Lyle were actually very good friends and usually interacted with one another in only the most polite and cordial manner. Johnny however, was more than a little drunk; and Lyle-- Well, Lyle knew something of great import that Johnny did not. But that was about to change.

"Johnny, listen to me. Listen very carefully. There was a vial of acid sitting on my dresser, about three hundred hits. It had a label on it. That label said LA-26f. Did you sell that acid? That specific acid?"

"I don't know, maybe... No, wait, yes. Yes, I put it on blotter and I pushed it at the school."

"Which school?"

"Central Tech."

"To who?"

"Holy fuck, Lyle! I don't know, the usual people. Lucas and Jesse each took about a hundred hits to turn around and then I five and tenned most of what was left to random people. Why all the fucking questions?"

"Johnny, do you have any of it left?"

"Yeah, I had ten or fifteen hits left when I was done. I tried to find a taker for a few minutes, then I just said, 'fuck it, I'm gonna go home, have a few drinks and watch Doctor Strangelove', which I'd like to get back to if you don't mind. What's left is over there on the table if you want it."

Lyle followed Johnny's nod to the table, and picked up the slightly battered sheet of blotter. It was perforated like a sheet of stamps, but broken up into far smaller squares. Only the corner remained of what had once been a larger sheet. He recognized the art. Johnny's ex-girlfriend had designed it. On the sheet Lyle held was the bottom left corner of the Illuminatus eye-in-the-pyramid rendered in a garish purple with tiny black angels reminiscent of fruit flies circling it. Ivan, a friend of Johnny's printed all the paper for them; it was easier that way. Lyle gripped the sheet tightly in his hand.

"Come into the kitchen."

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