‘Arrrgh, parent teacher interviews later today.’ moans Georgina, my colleague.
“Yeah I know” I groan sympathetically, but the truth is, I didn’t know. I had no fucking idea. I thought these last few days before Christmas break will be cruisy, just stupid games and movies. “Sorry Georgie, I forgot what time the interviews start?’
“From two to six in the evening,” she casually said as she sat down to drink her coffee, “Alex is organising some Indian food for us! Ya-um!”
“Oh, great” I respond, trying to mimic her excitement.
I’m not even going to ask if we were informed about this parent teacher evening. First, I would have looked like an incompetent fool, which I am, but she didn’t need to know that, and second, I’m sure an email was sent about it. They probably also mentioned it in meetings, but as usual, I mustn’t have been paying attention. How was I supposed to know shit discussed in meetings could actually be important? Maybe I should pay more attention from now on. Come to think of it, I should be more social as well, perhaps make it a habit to hang out in the staff room so important shit like this could be known in advance. The worst thing is, I can’t even get out of this, I already skipped mid-year parent teacher interviews, if I’m absent again for this one, Mr Tovsky will likely have something to say about it. Fuck.
Fearing any further bad news, I quickly finish making my coffee, politely exit the staff room and head back to my desk. It dawns on me that I’ll need my teacher journal for these fucking interviews, except, I don’t see it anywhere. This is a slight problem since I need the journal to appear professional, but more importantly, it has all the student scores I recorded. Where the fuck is it? Did I throw it away already? I check my shelves, but it’s practically empty. I chucked out a lot of shit this week since school for 2018 is almost over. Fuck, did I chuck out my journal too? Oh man, is it going to be one of those days?
I haven’t yet cleaned out my desk drawer, it could be in there. I open it and see that it’s crammed with all manner of shit. No, it won’t be there, but I’ve still got plenty of time before my first class, it’s a good opportunity to start cleaning this shit.
I start taking out junk, slowly making my way to the bottom of the drawer. Oh fuck! Is that…? Yes it fucking is, a prescription box of medicine! Don’t get excited Hugo, it could just be boring antibiotics. I immediately snatch it like a seagull would snatch a fallen potato chip. My eyes scan the pharmacy sticker on the box. Hallelujah! Oxycontin! I no longer feel like crap, and I no longer give two fucks where my journal could be. Oh man, this is exactly what the doctor ordered! Hold on, it could be empty. I frantically open it and discover there are five pills remaining, saved!
Without thinking, I push the first pill out its foil wrap. Stop! What am I doing? Do I really want to do this? Have I already forgotten my last crash? Fuck, have I already forgotten Donnatella? Aarrgghh, don’t think! Yes, that’s better.
With my mind turned off, my fingers turn on. Immediately, these fingers of mine do a much better job at being decisive. They’ve turned into mechanised robots on an assembly line, pumping out those four remaining pills with stunning speed and efficiency, and just like that, there they are, five naked pills in the palm of my hand, talking amongst each other, speculating their fate, seemingly undecided, but also looking nonplused, not caring either way what I do. Hmm, what do I do? No, I shouldn’t. It’s wrong. Damn you mind! I turned you off, or is it my conscience making this difficult? Shit, how do I turn that off? Perhaps I need my mind after all.
I do wonder if it’s fate that this discovery is made on the day I find out parent teacher interviews are happening? It would be such a wasted opportunity to not take it, I mean how else am I going to deal with four hours of parents complaining, complaining about their kid, about other kids, complaining about there being too much homework, or not enough homework, complaining about discipline, it’s too harsh, it’s not harsh enough, complaining about blah blah blah fucking blah. Yes I can’t deny it, it’s the perfect day to be numb to all this shit, but I also can’t deny the fact it’s been five days since I’ve last popped these fuckers, and I’m just starting to get over the worst of the withdrawals. I could just take one, but one won’t do shit, not even two, fuck, five will barely do it. Damn my tolerance. I also shouldn’t forget I have absolutely no pills at home, which means I can’t taper off, which means I’m going to crash, again. Damn my dependency. However, Christmas break is coming up, I could spend a week detoxing in bed, but is that how I want to spend my holidays? What would Miseryman do? I know Miseryman doesn’t give a fuck, but what does that mean exactly? Does it mean he doesn’t give a fuck about crashing again? Or does it mean he doesn’t give a fuck about going into war without pharmaceutical aide? War? I’m calling parent teacher interviews war? Fuck, I really am pathetic, to need opiates just to deal with people. Well, if I am a loser, I may as well own it, I may as well just take the damn pills. Although, if I don’t take it, I can’t call myself loser anymore, that would be nice, to not be a loser. Yes, I should just flush these pills down the toilet, flushing temptation along with it. No, I shouldn’t, I will need them for emergencies, like today, today is an emergency. Wait, what would I have done today if I didn’t find these pills? I would have survived this so called emergency, without the poison.
Why is this so difficult? Usually I don’t think twice. Why is my conscience so fucking self righteous today? Or, could it be a sign, a sign I’ve grown, matured, a sign signalling change, positive change. I should honour this thought by throwing these pills in the bin. The bin is just there, literally four meters away, but, but my coffee is just here, literally within arms reach. It would be easier to throw these pills in my mouth instead, washing it down with coffee, coffee that would now be the perfect temperature for such a task. Stop it! Remember, I’m five days clean, don’t ruin it. Hold on Hugo, ruin what? I never had the intention to go permanently clean! Yes I’ve been clean for five days, but not by choice, but rather the lack of it. Oxys are hard to come by on a consistent basis, if it were easy, I’d be high right now. Even if I had the intention, getting clean and staying clean usually only happens after several failed attempts, so I really don’t know why I’m beating myself up about this. Don’t be an idiot, I know very well. I still haven’t forgotten the hell that my mind, body and soul has had to endure. Am I really prepared to go back there again? Am I that stupid? Oh fuck you! You relentless, ruthless mind. I quickly shovel the five pills in my mouth and wash it down with lukewarm coffee. This debate is fucking over.
Someone’s knocking on the staff room door. I welcome the distraction, that is until I see who walks into the office. Of all people, Donnatella is the last person I want to see now, but there she is, walking towards my desk, completely oblivious to the fact that her presence has utterly shamed me with hypocrisy, and her eyes, her eyes shaming me with guilt. I wonder, is this coincidence, or is this God speaking to me, either way, regret has swallowed me whole.
‘Hey, can I speak to you?’ Donnatella asks.
I look around, it’s still early so most teachers aren’t here yet.
‘Sure, grab a seat’
She wheels a chair to the front of my desk and sits down. Her eyes are bloodshot. I’m hoping it’s only because she was crying.
‘When you spoke to my Dad yesterday,’ she’s whispering, making sure no one can hear, ‘I don’t know how to say this but I’m worried for you, he really hates you. He said you were trying to be a smart ass. What did you say to him?’
‘I didn’t say much to be honest.’ I reply. ‘He basically said that your spoiled and that you’re upset his not letting you go out with friends, which is why you were lying about everything else. I just told him that you taking so many pills is a sign that maybe something else is going on, but tell me Don, why are you worried for me? What do you think your Dad will do?’
Donnatella looks down, unsure what to say. She doesn’t need to say anything, it’s clear that her Dad is one crazy motherfucker.
I break the awkward silence by raising a more urgent matter at hand. ‘Is he still expecting you to get caught selling that shit at school?’
She nods her head. ‘That’s also why I’m here. There isn’t much time left before the school break, could you organise a locker check, to you know, get me caught, it will be in there’
It occurred to me how much influence Tony has over his daughter, that she is willing to execute this stupid plan of his, just to avoid his wrath. Fucking heartless cunt, how could he throw his own daughter under the bus like that?
‘Do you know what this means? Definite expulsion, but worse, possible criminal record, fucking up all university applications, job prospects, this is crazy Don.’
‘Yea, it’s crazy, but you saw my Dad, his crazier.’ She was surprisingly calm given the situation, confirming my fears that she definitely took something.
‘Okay, let’s go to your locker.’
Donnatella opens her locker for me and steps aside. I see it right away, a clear ziplock bag full of pills. I grab it, feeling its weight in my hand. Fuck me, if this isn’t intent to sell I don’t know what is. I discreetly shove it in my jacket pocket, making sure the corridor cameras are unable to capture anything incriminating. I calmly close the locker.
We start walking when Donnatella stops to ask, ‘So are we going to O’Donnell now? Tovsky?’
I hear the question, but I’m distracted. Why did she come to me for help? She could have easily got caught with the drugs a million other ways. Could it be that she’s hoping I actually help, as in, help her out of this fucked up situation.
‘Is that all of it?’ I ask, changing the subject.
We continue walking.
‘So this shit in my pocket, it’s Jaxon’s, your Dad’s competitor?’
‘Do you know where your Dad cook’s his own shit?’
‘No idea at all?’
‘No idea at all’
‘Does your Dad have a legitimate job?’
‘He work for someone or for himself?’
‘Does he work at home or is he renting an office somewhere?’
Donnatella stops walking again. The sudden lines in her forehead may as well spell anguish. My questioning has clearly caused confusion, even concern, as though her ability to stay calm is wholly dependent on sticking to her Dad’s plan, and any perceived deviation, will likely lead to hysterical panic. ‘What’s with the fucking questions?’
I’m not good at this.
‘Trust me’ I say, attempting to reassure her everything is under control.
Why the fuck did I say that? Trust me. I don’t even trust myself.
‘No’ she fires back.
‘Sorry, but you have no choice. I’ve got the drugs now.’
Her eyes scream betrayal. I’m really not good at this.
‘So, does he work at home or is he renting an office somewhere?’ I repeat.
‘An office,’ she sighs, ‘Sandstone Park’
‘Apart from work, when does he leave the house?’
‘The last Friday of every month, he leaves the house around six in the evening. We usually don’t see him again until Sunday.’
That’s when he must be cooking.
‘These pills in the bag, how much money are we talking, roughly?’
‘Five hundred, can we go to O’Donnell now?’
‘No’ I reply. ‘I’m keeping the drugs. I’ll pay you the five hundred cash, spread over these next few days. On your last day of school, when you go back home, you can tell your Dad you sold out. You can tell him you tried to get caught, but the teachers are too stupid to notice. He won’t be too upset since he would have got his money back, maybe even a bit more. He’ll be forced to think up some other plan to take down this Jaxon guy since you will be done with school by then’
Donnatella looked into her imaginary crystal ball. The lines on her forehead disappeared. She clearly wanted out of this mess. She wanted to believe.
‘Why did you ask me all those questions?’ she asked.
It was Miseryman, he wanted to know.
‘No reason’ I respond.