Donny began to wind down, as the pill took effect. He almost dropped a couple TV's because his motor functions were becoming impaired. Greg and Bill were too busy chatting and moving their own TVs to notice.
Donny was changing. It wasn't just the drugs he was relapsing. His old habits were coming back. He was now only concerned with himself. The remorse of ripping off Greg was all but gone now, with the latest dose. Donny was catering to the whims of pharmaceutacals now. Nothing else mattered.
As they drove back, Donny slept once again, this time most of the return journey. He did not dream. Dreams were beyond him now.
Donny came to as they stopped in CR, at a stoplight.
"You can drop me off here," Donny mumbles, half asleep.
"You can stay at my place again, if you want" Greg offers, "there's a couch in my office."
The contrition stirs within Donny. Greg shouldn't offer so much to a stranger. Donny wanted to cut off the flow of giving.
"I appreciate all you've done for you, Greg" Donny relays, "I can't be a burden to you. I'm a grown man. I can't be relying on someone else taking care of me. I've gotta be on my own."
"They have shelters, you know" Greg says.
"I know" Donny says,"I might consider going there, but right now I need to clear my head. I'll be fine, really. You are not your brothers keeper, man."
Donny opens the door and rests a foot on the pavement.
"Wait," Greg persists, "I still haven't paid you for the work you did today"
The self-preservation within Donny overrides his eagerness to leave. They drive back to the Pawn and Payday. Greg pays him $30. This is a small fortune for Donny. It was the equivalent of 600 popcans, right in his palm.
"One last thing," Greg says, exiting the vehicle,"I have a winter coat I can give you. I grew out of it, it won't fit anymore. Just come inside a second."
Donny stands near the doorway as Greg searches in the back room. After a time, Greg returns with a Chicago Bears coat. It is obviously brand new. No scuffs or dirtiness of any kind can be found on the coat. Donny is heartbroken. Still, Greg keeps bestowing goods upon an underserving soul.
"the Bears suck" Donny says,"but this is a very nice coat."
"I talked to Ben two days ago," Greg says quietly to Donny.
"Oh?" Donny replies,"What did he have to say."
"Well," Greg says, ,"he told me how you used to work for him. He says he might have a position available."
"Really," Donny says, with surprisingly little interest,"I'll have to talk to him some more about it."
Ben and Donny had been through this before. Donny avoided Ben's offers, feeling ashamed at being a charity case. Ben could hardly afford to make it by himself, how could he support another employee? Donny would be extra baggage.
"You're good at fixing computers, right?" Greg asks abruptly.
"Yeah, I know a thing or two." Donny says modestly.
It was a porno virus. When the computer powered on, a video clip of a man and woman fucking came on-screen. Donny was unable to bypass the video, or enter the welcome screen. Greg clears his throat uncomfortably. Donny didn't care. Greg was like every man, he just needed some self-love sometimes. Even Donny beat off a few times a week, usually with his own saliva as lubrication. Without that exercise, a man could go insane from desire.
Donny mutes the sound, cutting off the lively grunts and groans. Unable to power it off, Donny unhooks the battery.
"Oh" Greg says,"I didn't think of removing the battery. I just left the laptop on until it ran out of juice. I had to hide the laptop in back, in my desk so customers wouldn't hear it."
Donny laughs at this. Poor Greg. The guy was no pervo, he was just lonely. Who can fault a guy for tugging on his own man-meat for relief?
Upon powering it back up, Donny hits Delete and boots into an alternate screen. After a lengthy load time, Greg's desktop appears once more.
"Hey!!" Greg exclaims, patting Donny on the shoulder,"YOu did it!! What did you change?"
"Safe mode allows only the basic functions to run," Donny says matter-of-factly,"It seemed the virus had infected one of the startup programs the OS uses to run,"
Donny continues talking about System Restore, and other computer terms, to the blank-faced Gregory. Eventually, Donny outsmarts the virus and the computer is functioning to it's full potential again. If only the same could be said about Donny. One problem was fixed for Greg, but another was looming right above the big guy's head, and he had no idea: the missing drugs.
"I'm gonna take off," Donny says abruptly, zipping up his newly-acquired coat.
"Do you want Ben's number?" Greg offers.
"I can get ahold of him," Donny says over his shoulder as he exits. It was a brusk way of leaving, but Donny was not good at goodbyes. Greg would be better off without Donny, for sure. Once the theft became apparent, Greg would have a different view on Donny entirely.
Donny's first purchase with his cash was a roll of tinfoil, a package of pens, and a 2 pack of cigarette lighters. He was coming down, and wanted to rise again. The cold wind was picking up, but the coat shielded him wonderfully. Good old Greg. If there was a god, Donny hoped he, she, or it, would pay back all of Greg's kindness. As for Donny's future, the street would take care of him, one way or the other.
Donny walked to the overpass, which led to interstate 380. He climbed underneath, up the steep incline of the cement, until he reached the top. A few rocks are knocked free by Donny, and they clatter down into the mess of oily water and garbage below. He huddled between two concrete molds, which cut down the wind nicely. Donny realizes he left the sleeping bag in the back of Gus' truck, after the fact. Fuck. Now, hypothermia was a real concern.
Pulling out the roll of tinfoil, Donny rips off a square of metal. Taking one of the pens, Donny snaps off the ink point, as well as the rear portion. He is left with a hollow tube. He takes one of the pills and places it on the foil. Tipping the tinfoil at an angle, Donny holds a lighter underneath. With the pen tube, he inhales the smoke rolling off the tinfoil. The pills melt gradually, sliding down the foil with a resiny trail. Donny gets several deep hits before the pills are beyond smoking anymore.
It is a crude method of drug delivery, but it works great. Donny is back in the stratosphere. Nothing plagues him. The cold is not a factor. His institutionalized mother did not worry him. The thievery couldn't phase him. Without the theft of the Oxy, Donny wouldn't be feeling as good as he did now. In fact, Donny was already scheming how to get more dope. More stealing was not out of the question.
Donny is disoriented. He did a lot of drugs today, for someone who has been without. Resting his head against the concrete embankment, Donny detects the vibrations of cars before they roar past overhead. It is a loud sound, but is soothing to him right then. Despite the bitter cold, and rough texture of the cement, Donny slips into another drug haze and sleeps under the bridge.
He awoke almost frozen in place. His upper body wasn't so bad, because of the coat, but his legs were stiff and chilled. Devising a new method for warmth, Donny tucks his knees up to his chest, and zips the coat around his shins. It works well. He sleeps another hour, but then the morning rush hour begins. The rumble of vehicles overhead is a constant thrumming noise, not allowing rest.
Donny scoots down the steep hill and begins walking. Once reaching a payphone, Donny calls the YMCA message center. He tells the attendant to let Gus know about the sleeping bag in the back of his blazer. As an afterthought, Donny requests the bag to be left at the Y, so Donny could pick it up. Without a cell phone, or other form of communication, Donny decides to call the YMCA each morning, until the bag is returned.
Donny smokes another Oxy on a shred of aluminum foil. This time, he smokes half an Oxy pill. His dosage has been increasing, from a quarter of a tablet, to a half. It it only through deliberate willpower that Donny is able to split the pill. Freud would have a field day with Donny's subconscious. Apparently Donny's ID is battling his superego, and his regular ego is caught in between. Junkies have a special form of this subconscious understanding. Donny knew his ID would take over, it was simply a matter of time.
Donny tries to hitchhike, but has no takers. A cop passes him by, and Donny shoves his extended thumb into his pocket. He worriedly watches as the cop continues on, looking for any sings the cruiser might suddenly flip a u-ey, and come back 'round. It doesn't, but Donny decides to ditch the main drag and hit the side streets. Too bad. Donny always liked walking down first ave, seeing all the stores and young people flocking this way and that. It was a particularly entertaining endeavor when he was high, as he now was.
Construction blocked off some of the street, forcing Donny to detour even farther around. His leg hurt. If there was a hell, hopefully Evan would be there in the afterlife, right alongside Donny. He hoped Evan would have something jabbing his leg for all infinity, the way Donny's femur felt now. What a dark wish. But he still wished it.
Donny decided he could not face Ben. Lying came easy when it came to Greg, but Donny couldn't bring himself to lie to Benjamin.