February 2018


Dazed and Still Dazed

DAZED: The Story of a Grunge Rocker

In the haze of nodding, I grasped at the muted incandescent glow from the only light bulb in who-the-fuck-knows-where and tried to keep my eyes open from the last hit of dope.



I pulled long strands of my hair with the cheap blond dye-job from the vomit.



I tried to lift my head off the stained carpet to see in every direction, but my skinny ass failed me.

Out, fucking again. I’d tried to find what hurt less. In the long run, things had changed even if they’d all been lies. Her warm pair of arms had collapsed me to tears.

But I couldn’t find her, and she was all I’d had for a year on the Portland streets.

We were homeless, belonging nowhere, without a map, forfeiting our dreams.

“Wink?” I called to her when my eyes half-opened. She was my redheaded runaway with severe green eyes and as straight a nose as mine, but she didn’t have the cleft to her chin.

Indefinable, acceptance perhaps, I the winter-starved wolf, but I couldn’t fucking find her.

It would have been all right for me to be alone, but Wink had been there, unlike my mom, Kristelle, who could never be. I would have traded all my talents—drawing, writing, singing, and playing the fuck out of my guitar—just to have my mom’s touch, for old time’s sake.

But Kristelle blamed me for missing out on the best fucking rush she could have had right before the cut. Deep in the hole in her chest, she’d hoped for the blood streaming between her thighs with me the glob of tissue at her feet. She’d wanted me gone, but I’d fucking clung on to her like a life preserver.

I lifted my hand. I tried to focus, the panic crawling between the layers of my skin, small snakes wanting out.



My hand was covered with blood as I lifted it to my face.

“Wink,” I spit out with the sour vomit taste.

I pushed up to my feet. The fucking room spun. In a derelict motel? I couldn’t find Wink in any corner, just spotted the analogue TV on the chipped dresser and disheveled bed sheets drenched in blood.

I wondered how far I’d have to scoop to reach bottom.

I glanced in the mirror above the blood bath. The side of my face bore a scarlet rim. I briefly remembered Wink not feeling well and me pleading for us to check in.

But that was fucking all I could squeeze from my memory.

I searched the bathroom and ripped down the plastic shower curtain, not sure if the blood I was leaving behind belonged to her or me.

Not one fucking drop was mine except for what had oozed from my last pick.

I fucking panicked and ran out into the dark, wet streets.

I knew where I’d find the other runaways, junkies, and indigent. They’d be hovered over a metal barrel of fire or lay on the flattened moving boxes beneath the overpass.

“Hey!” I yelled at the first shadow in flannel and dirty, ripped jeans, his wool cap pulled down to his eyes.

Can’t be as old as me. How fucking old am I? I couldn’t keep track of the days, let alone the years.

He glanced up with an indifferent sneer.

He knew I was different. He just wasn’t sure how. If he’d have asked, I’d have told him I hadn’t really been born; I’d just shot down on a fucking moonbeam into Kristelle’s amniotic fluid with now-absent Hank begging her to keep my ass alive, but I didn’t have fucking time.

“You seen Wink?”

He shrugged and offered me a hit of chronic, but I didn’t have a moment to spare. I took off to find someone else.

Again and fucking again, nobody saw nothing.

I headed up a main Portland street, the hazy neon colors of lights like hallucinations in the drizzle.

I’d hoped it would be different when Mom kicked me out, and I’d left Our Town, Lifeless Hole, Oregon. But the spikes just grew in numbers.

I spotted some wasted kid. Couldn’t have been more than thirteen.

Like I’d been when I first spiked.

His flesh was tattooed, and he had piercings over twitching half-opened gray eyes.

“Wink, have you seen her?”

He moved junkie slow, probably having spiked the same shit I’d done. He laughed a kid’s laugh. I could still hear the backbeat of street smarts. He nodded for just a second, lifted his fucking eyelids, and stared back at me.

“Fuck, man, she stumbled by earlier.”

I grabbed the fucking kid by the dirty thermal shirt.

hated to admit it.

“What do you fucking mean?”

“She was bleeding bad.”

“Where’d she go?” I gripped him to me like a magnet to shiny metal.

I remembered this might have been the saddest memory I owned, in the tiny motel room, shivering from the lack of smack. But then I’d sold some sketches I’d done for twenty a pop and scored. Drawing had saved me from becoming rough trade, unlike Wink who had only her gorgeous strut and drop-dead smile that never failed to snare a trick.

“You’re hurting me, asshole. She your squeeze? Thought you were fucking queer.”

I pushed him to the concrete, jumped him, and just went crazy and starting punching the shit out of him until a couple of guys pulled me off. The kid was crying when I glanced down, the hole in my chest hurting like a mutha.

Didn’t have a fucking heart. I wasn’t even human. I was a snake who needed to shed his useless depleted skin, but then, I’d have to feel every minute I’d been away from Kristelle, every minute I hadn’t been spared from Hank’s “adios”, and I was still using flash cards just to figure out the tick-tocks of time, for fuck’s sake. Why would anyone barter for a chance to be loved?

I apologized to the kid as he rose to his knees.

“Somebody saw her at the hospital.” He hesitated to see if I would go ballistic, but I just stared as my light turned dark. “Eat shit, you fuckin’ fag.”

And the kid was fucking right. Even with my stiff two-inch dick up Wink, I knew I wanted Kevin, my best friend in the whole fucking world for nearly all of my pathetic life, and his tight ass I’d never gotten the pleasure of tunneling.

I made it to the hospital and up the ambulance ramp next to the ER. I lost the fucking tears in front of the packed waiting room of injured and sick. I threw myself against the window separating Admitting from the underbelly of heaven sacked out on the orange metal chairs. I rambled and cussed and demanded to see Wink, but they ignored me like I’d been a fucking annoying fly in and out of the small opening.

Fuck me. I was already doing cold turkey. Sweat streamed with my tears down my face. My jaw locked and unlocked, twitching to the point of pain. My calves ached, and I had managed to hit the toilet with the puke in the filthy bathroom. Finally, some guy in scrubs with a stethoscope wrapped around his neck brought me beyond the double doors.

Fucking fear.


I’ll promise Wink anything if she’ll just forgive me.

I don’t even remember reaching the gurney and practically throwing myself across her.

“It isn’t your fault, Eric. I wanted to spike as bad as you did.”

She looked so frail beneath the layered worn blankets. I couldn’t stop bawling like a goddamn prick.

The guy in the scrubs who copped his position as a Physician of Emergency Medicine just started spewing words. Some I heard. Some I’m not fucking sure.

“We couldn’t save the baby.”

My fucking baby.

“She’ll have to stay overnight. She’s lost a lot of blood.”

I just started shaking, and then I fucking puked on the linoleum tiles. I was hurting bad! I’d never really felt complete. I’d been hoping my son would be the fulcrum in my despair.

The doc started for me, but Wink stopped him.

“He’s been through cold turkey before. He doesn’t need your help.”

I wiped the vomit from my mouth. “Can I see my son?”

Wink cut the doc off before he could speak. “We weren’t right, you and me.”

“You never would have spiked if I hadn’t scored.”

“But there’s always a next time, Eric Peterson. Fucking always.”

I grabbed the doc by his scrub sleeve. “I fucking want to see my son!”

“There’s nothing to see.”

I let go of his arm.


I was fucking sinking inside.

I’d thought she and I would be different. I wouldn’t have left my ten-year-old son and Wink like Hank had left Kristelle and me. I would have pitched heroin into a distant memory. I’d forget I loved Kevin. I’d forget his favorite sketch I’d done of a “dick popping out of the sand”. I’d forget what it was like to give a damn.

I’d fucking forget I was gay, only where would I send the truth? And then I fucking remembered as far back as my fucking eyes could see.



I eased my way to Wink and kissed her on the mouth. I didn’t linger. It would have been too painful. “I love you,” I choked out.

She choked back, “I’ll always love you, baby, not like a woman loves a man, but like the day loves the sun.”

I cried harder.

“It’s not your fault, so I don’t have to ever forgive you. Go home, Eric. You don’t belong on the streets.”

And that’s how I left her, found the nearest payphone, and called my mom. Kristelle answered and agreed to let me come home if I’d finish high school and take advantage of my two art scholarships. I fucking agreed after she reminded me I would soon turn nineteen.


DAZED the film https://www.dazedthestory.com