Vicious Cycle – Friday Fictioneers

The rumours of my demise have been greatly exaggerated, darlings. I’m still here, though I’ll let you in on something — I think Jessica’s trying to take over my blog. I let slip that I was finishing up the end of Volume Two of Memoirs of a Dilettante, and I think she’s taking it as an opportunity to stage a coup.

So I spoke to our lovely host, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, and she said it’s perfectly safe for me to hang out here. So your favourite dilettante will live on at casa de Friday Fictioneers, so never fear. Or if you do have to fear, fear Jessica — she’s frightening.

This week’s photo comes courtesy of Doug MacIlroy, and spawned a number of story ideas in my head, but I settled on this one, because I liked the idea of two simultaneous thoughts happening at once — similar but with entirely different meanings.

Why? Because that’s how I roll, that’s fucking why, darlings. I love playing with words. Words are my Lego.

I fear it may take me a couple of days before I get around to reading, but please don’t hold that against me. I am 100% in editing mode on what will be my temporary swan song — big things coming next week, darlings, do stay tuned. So please be patient; I will be faithful.

In the meantime, read the other stories or write one of your own. The rules are spelled out on Rochelle’s page. Click the blue frog (gently, she’s an amphibian and has delicate skin) to read more stories.

copyright Douglas M. MacIlroy

copyright Douglas M. MacIlroy

Eddie held the spoon over the candle’s flame and watched the brown liquid bubble like he had a hundred times before.

How had it gone on for so long? How many times had he said to himself This is the last time? How many times had he feared that this time would be the last time, not because he had the willpower to quit, but because he shot too much; got too greedy.

He put the spike into his vein and smiled in euphoria.

This is the last time, he thought, please don’t let this be the last time.

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52 responses to “Vicious Cycle – Friday Fictioneers

  1. This sounds very familiar (alcohol rather than drugs but I remember very similar contradictory thoughts). You captured the feelings of an addict very well, in my opinion.

    “Words are my Lego” 🙂

  2. Very cleverly juxtaposed thought process, Helena – addiction is a terrifying thing and you’ve captured that without letting go of the character’s basic relaxed attitude. I don’t even know if this comment makes sense, but it does in my head.
    Glad to see you back – I read all the stories last week (how do you dooo that?) and missed you.

    • Thank you, Jen. To be honest, if I start on Wednesday, I often get burned out by Friday. I’m going to try to read SOME today, but I’ve really got to get editing. Last week was just a fluke — I just needed to relax — threw my neck out of joint and was stoned on painkillers for a couple of days.

      • Boo to pain and painkillers (unless you like that kind of think; personally, I don’t). I’m glad to see you back, but also STOP BLOGGING AND EDIT! x

  3. The last time I had a spoon with brown liquid in it I had just demolished a container of chocolate ice cream. Not one of my finer moments.

  4. A fascinating glimpse into the desperation of a drug addict. It’s tragic how everything, aside from the drug, ceases to matter. A very intriguing portrayal of the illness, Helena!

  5. Yikers! So that’s what goes on in an addict’s head. I understand this is one of the toughest things to quit. You paint a vivid portrait. Well done!

  6. How coincidental! I, too, thought of the spoon and white powder, and oddly, we had a group of performers at school who performed a short play about drug abuse.
    In any case, I didn’t go with that angle, and I’m glad you did!
    As always, elegant and eloquent storytelling, Helena! (I’m so glad she’s still around in these parts!)

  7. Horrifyingly realistic; and all too often the last time turns out to be the last time. Well done, that last line just sings.

  8. Dear Helena,

    You have taken us into the addict’s twisted mind with eloquence and style. I have to echo Sandra, “The last line sings.”

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

  9. Dear Person of many names, all of whom I have become attached to,

    Second paragraph, second sentence, add a ‘he’ in there somewhere (or do not).

    The story is very good. I was right there cooking along with your protagonist and wishing, too.

    Aloha,

    Doug

    • Thanks for the catch, Doug.
      I’ll remain Helena for you, darling, but if you have a taste for the creepy and the macabre (not cheap chills or thrills, but intelligent strange tales) do go get acquainted with Jessica, I’m sure she’d love to have you in her dungeon.

  10. Of course, the first person who popped into my mind with your story is Philip Seymour Hoffman. I wonder if he had those thoughts, those perfect-exactly-what-an-addict-hopes-for thoughts, that last time. Well done, darling.

  11. Oh yes, we can lie to ourselves about absolutely anything, but do we believe those lies? No, not at all. That’s why we spend so much time, energy and often money, reinforcing the lie, to make it halfway believable. Great, great work, Ms HHB!

    As for the other matter of Jessica v Helena and (what the…?!) your temporary swansong… Noooo! I’ve bought but not yet read your first volume – in the middle of Margaret Attwood (so to speak), so please don’t be disappearing too soon… I may have to beg, and beggin’ ain’t pretty (not the way I do it, anyhow!).

  12. HI Helena
    Addiction is such a sad thing, and I think if most addicts were honest, they feel this way every single time they shoot up, drink, light up etc. That’s why our clever brains trick us into pretending we’re enjoying it, and pretending we’re in charge. A very thought-provoking tale this week.

  13. I echo what El said (we were on the same wavelength). There’s a great book called The Power of a Habit by Charles Duhigg. It is NOT dry reading, but a wonderfully anecdotal and highly researched book. It is excellent.

    And so was this story! Bravo, Helena!

  14. i liked the conflicting emotions in the last line. i agree with russell, everyone’s got their own addiction. you’ve captured it well

  15. Dear Helena, Wonderfully written story as usual! The need for habits is there from birth – like thumb sucking. You are what this club is all about – good writers willing to take a chance with us (me) underlings. Thanks Helena and Jessica – you amuse me! Nan 🙂

  16. I had some difficulty with the LinkUp this week, so just now popping in to read. So sorry for the delay, m’dear, but you made it worth the wait. I enjoyed the dichotomy you capture in this flash. Nicely handled.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

  17. That’s the kind of addiction each one of us has, for something or the other. Addiction is most generally followed by the struggle of the mind. You let your imagination flow just too well, and then captured it with skill! wow.

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