The jail, the acid, being alone — it all starts to get to me. I feel ashamed, no good. I shit in the toilet; I fish out the turd; I take my spoon and eat a piece of the turd. I drink a spoonful of urine. I break the windowpanes with my elbows, cutting myself in the process. I try to cut off the fingers of my left hand, but succeed only in producing a deep gash across them. The blood floods out in big bright red drops. The air fills with the smell of my blood. I write my name on the wall with it. Thick gobs cling to my gray cell wall. I’m trying to think of a way to cut myself deeper when the guards come and haul me to the hospital.
An Encounter With Carlos Castaneda
Death is the one inexorable fact in our transitory lives. Perhaps I will die a doddering old fool; perhaps I will die before the sun sets tonight. But I will die — that much is certain. In the meantime, what remains within my control is the groove of my life, the track upon which I choose to walk between the exclamation of my coming and the ellipsis of my going. At its purest, this track is trackless, like a path covered by freshly fallen snow. And trodding such virgin paths is the most enduring image of my adolescent dreams. By speaking directly to that memory, Castaneda has reawakened it within my heart. Given the perilously low ebb I have reached in life, I can only describe this feat as a genuine act of sorcery.
The secret ingredient in the cathedral’s communion bread is beer: twelve ounces of Miller, Budweiser, Olympia. Today I am using Anchor Steam left over from a fund-raiser. I am not supposed to drink. Some think even one beer can reduce your T -cell levels, and my count is already down to four per cubic millimeter of blood — less than half a percent of normal immune capability.
The idea of a baby sucking on her breast, the way her boyfriend back in Durant had liked to do, disgusted Vanessa, but she said she would try it. Kevin didn’t seem interested — just mouthed at her soft flesh and fell asleep — although he latched on quickly to the firm bottle nipple the maternity-ward nurses offered.
Kathy opened the front door one Tuesday morning dressed in dirty rags and holding a little aluminum paint can in her arms. “From the moment she stepped inside the shelter, she mystified us,” one woman says. “Whatever she did, wherever she went, the little paint can never left her hands.”