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[ Personal Narratives ]

Dark streets 


I was swaying through the back streets of Barcelona in an area off the Ramblas called the Raval. My nose was dripping. The taste was disguising, bitter as lemon petrol snot that threatened to disintegrate my septum. It was pitch black and I kept stumbling over bags of rubbish left out for the gutter rats. 

I was in the very area that my Iranian opium dealer Ali told me never to venture after dark. Unfortunately my sanity had been left in a bottle of Jack Daniels. 

The only thing in my head was an obsession to use regardless of any cost. At that moment I would’ve walked to hell and back to satisfy my selfish desire.

A few hours earlier I joined 90 thousand other obsessives at the Nou Camp football stadium cheering on Barcelona’s ‘Galacticos’.

Watching Barca play was like witnessing a master artist conduct a symphony of colour and movement. In every touch there was creativity and beauty, aggression and grace.

I was being led into the Ravel by a local prostitute called Patty. Patty had missing teeth and dirty clothes. The promise of smack has engulfed my senses and painted over my judgement with dark, grey paint. Perhaps this is how Adam felt when the snake offered him the apple.? A junkie Adam, a sleazy Eve.

Suddenly several Moroccans leapt out of the shadows like Lions pouncing on weak prey. They came at me from all angles and I was quickly overpowered. I felt like a vulnerable rabbit blinded by the oncoming headlights. I was knocked to the ground and soon lay motionless on the floor like a dead rat. I closed my eyes and imagined myself wearing a crown of thorns whilst bound tightly upon a chair of fire.

An ugly mother fucker with dirty fingernails and a black neck scarf put his knee on my chest and held a shiny silver blade to my throat. His teeth were clenched and a drop of saliva hit me on the forehead. His friends search my pockets with such savagery that both my jeans and underpants were soon around my waist. I felt like a fallen grasshopper who’d been overpowered by a thousand angry ants.

One of the robbers was wearing the dirtiest pair of trainers I’d ever seen in my life. He looked like a night-time shit walker.

I glanced to my left and spotted my friend in a similar position. He was pleading with them not to take his wallet.

“Please don’t take that, my grandmother gave it to me.” I almost burst out laughing. His pathetic plea seemed absurd. But the only absurd thing was me.

I was so out of it that I remained calm throughout. I wasn’t bothered about being naked from the waist down with a sharp blade to my throat and surrounded by violent men. 

I didn’t care that I could’ve been cut, raped or even killed. I didn’t even care about my friend or his fucking nan. What I was most pissed off about was that I wouldn’t be getting my drugs. I was completely insane.

Perhaps the guy should have cut me. It would’ve been a permanent reminder of my insanity whilst in active addiction. Continuing to put myself back into the torture garden where flowers never grow. Hurting myself once more to see if I could still feel. Searching under rocks for love lost then dis-guarding it if found.

Afterwards I felt like an old, pathetic worn out man. A setting sun who’d one day become extinguished. A coin that had past through a million insane stories and played a part in each one.

Young Sung Hero