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It was my favourite jacket. There were tears here and there or perhaps a red stain on the pale sleeves, but it was my favourite jacket always. It fitted me so well, it was light and comfortable. For all these reasons I couldn’t imagine doing anything without it. It spoke to me almost as much as the mask did. The mask was another story; I didn’t like it as much as the jacket, but it was also very necessary for my work. It allowed me to be more professional as well as release my emotions.
I wore both as I walked down the street. The house was owned by an old friend of mine. He was the one who introduced me to the mask and the pills. Night was drawing in and the beach on the other side of the road was almost empty as well. Instead of walking straight up to the front door I walked around the back and climbed over the fence. There were people, but he was always just out of sight. He knew they were looking at the waves, not the dark garden with the strange man.
Once over the fence I walked towards the backyard, but was immediately jumped by my old friend, Robert. He jumped around the corner, pointing his handgun between the eyes of my rubber mask. He paused immediately and lowered his gun.
“Oh, hey, man,” he mumbled. I didn’t respond. “Follow me, the new shipment came in. This stuff is the good stuff, I’m telling you.”
I followed him into the backyard, past the barbeque. As he unlocked the sliding door the sky slowly turned red for sunset. I followed him inside his crappy home. The inside was a cluttered hell, filled with stolen clothes from a second-hand store and broken electronics. He led me through a dug out path towards the basement stairs.
“You’re so quiet, man, it’s like you’re not even here,” Robert told me. He plucked a rubber mask from a set of hooks as we descended. It was the devil with bug-like eyes. I did not say anything until he pulled the mask on.
“It is going to be a long night,” I replied in fading voice. I spent the whole day screaming into a pillow till I choked on blood.
“You don’t sound good, man. I have some cough syrup too, good stuff as well.”
“I’m fine,” I told him as I could feel flecks of blood fly outside my mouth and hit the mask.
“If you say so,” he mumbled.
He unlocked the door and shifted it by jamming his shoulder up against it. The door creaked open and I could smell the pills already. Once inside I saw many boxes of the pills. They were red as cherries and immediately my mask began speaking to me. It was begging me from the deepest parts of its spirit.
He walked over to an un-opened box, placing it on the table in the centre of the room. Pulling the cord the light clicked to life. Robert took out a box cutter and slid it across the top. He opened the box lid to reveal my order.
“There you have it. Twenty-thousand pills, all bagged, not bottled,” Robert listed off. He shook his head in disbelief that I would order so many for just myself. “Are you sure that is going to be enough?”
“Yes, for tonight,” I told him.
I reached into the box, plucking a bag of five-hundred and pulled the plastic bag with one of my long nails. I took five of the pills and lifted my mask to eat them all at once. I crunched the plastic painfully, the chemicals inside filled my mouth painfully and I swallowed fast. The blood covering my throat made it go down easier. Robert looked on in disgust, but didn’t stop me.
“Do you need my help taking it to your car?” Robert asked.
“No car. Had to sell it for the pills,” I told him. The mask told me what Robert was thinking. Robert wants to tell me to take it easy, but he was too afraid too. I had what I needed for tonight. “Why do you have so many pills, Rob?”
“Business has been good to me,” Robert told me happily, glad I changed the subject. “I have a new client, big client too. They’ve been buying by the truck-load.”
“Isn’t it hard to move so many pills?” I asked as I swallowed a handful of pills. I could feel the heat rise up and boil inside my skull.
“I don’t move it. I receive it from the Russians and then the client…”
As he spoke thoughtfully, fathering the facts in his slow mind, I reached behind my back, slipping my fingers beneath my jacket and clutching my gun. He soon noticed my movement, but I was quicker on the draw than he was. I raised my gun and fired, his skull splitting with a terrific crack. It shattered like a glass of wine.
Before he even fell I reached down and pulled the box into my hands. I turned to the stairs and jogged up them. There was a set of keys hanging on the same set of hooks. I plucked them off the hook and searched the house. Sure enough I found gasoline closer to an old grill. Within moments the smell of fire was filled the neighborhood. I watched it from the rear-view mirror of the car, driving down to the docks.
The night has just begun and it was time to cleanse the competition from the city. I passed a news-van, a fire-truck and then an ambulance. I found the order strange at first, but it was perfect for what I needed. Soon they would know the middle-man was terminated and then they would approach the supplier, letting me know exactly who they were.
I don’t know why I was doing this. I loved the madness the pills gave me, it was a high that I could die on, but the mask spoke with such a power. I could not let it down. I revved the engine, taking another handful of pills. I gagged, but forced it down. There was no room for weakness anymore.
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