Meth Love (excerpt from Gag) – Sybil Rain

        Okay, so I know I said before that my dad is my only living parent, and technically that may in fact be true. It’s just that right now I have no way of knowing for sure if my mother is alive or dead because she literally broke up with me for being late to dinner one time, even though the reason I was late is because I’d been drugged, raped multiple times and sold to a gang of twelve year old cannibal street children who live in a network of caves below Manhattan so they could pimp me out for bottle caps and seashells – which I guess is a form of currency for them – and I haven’t seen or heard from her since. So yeah, I’m going to keep saying she’s dead because she may as well be for all I care.
        Incidentally the one time I was late for dinner was also the first time I ever shot up meth. It all happened like a week before my dad and Catrin broke up. I met this guy Tyler on Scruff and we hit it off immediately (and yes, I know it’s wrong for trannies to be on Scruff, it offends my sensibilities just as much as yours, but there’s honestly a lot of hot guys on there. Sometimes you’ll find these like, perfect, sculpted, secret bisexual types with man buns who are really into fitness and pussy and pressed green juice and getting spun and banging transsexuals, which is the exact kind of guy it seemed like Tyler was going to be, and which he was, too, in the beginning, until it all turned into something much creepier and way worse). Tyler messaged me on the app just as I was leaving the city to go back to school on Sunday, and we texted back and forth like, all week before finally meeting up the following Thursday.
        Texting about meth sex is the second hottest thing there is. In fact it’s very close to being hotter than the first hottest thing – actual meth sex – which is always very slightly disappointing, mostly due to the comedown, and because you can hardly ever even remember all of it later. Even so, if I could just have meth sex for the rest of my life I’d be a very happy person. That’s what I would wish for if a genie gave me wishes: unlimited, condomless, big-dicked meth sex, with no comedown at the end, no tolerance, and a high def camera aimed directly at my hole, filming the cock pushing in and out, and the video’d be simulcast on the biggest fucking flatscreen TV on the entire planet, on the ceiling or the wall or wherever my face happened to be pointing at the time, depending of course on the position I was getting fucked in.
        The truth is I fucking love meth. I love it so much I don’t even know how to put it into words. I love meth more than I love my dad, more than I love my mom, more than I love all my friends and family combined – which, let’s be real, is not very much to begin with. But I’ve got to give you something, right? I’ve got to offer some comparison, however unjust or nonspecific, just so you get a sense of the scale of my boundless, unlimited, insatiable devotion to cruel, sweet, harsh, tender, loving, hating, life-destroying and life-giving meth.
        I love meth so much I don’t even care when guys rape me when I’m on it, because while it’s happening I just feel like I’m fulfilling my purpose, accomplishing my destiny. It’s the one thing I’m good for. It’s why I was made. And even though I’m only seventeen, I’ve never been so sure of anything else in my entire life. Is that fucked up? I don’t even care. Because the only time – and I swear, I mean the only time – I feel like my life is worth anything at all is when I’m spun out of my mind on meth, watching porn, rubbing my cock and taking huge dicks like my life depends on it.
        In the book Wuthering Heights Cathy says, “Nelly, I am Heathcliff,” and honestly that’s exactly how I feel about meth. Nelly, I am meth. Meth is always on my mind. Not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself – but, as my own being. Meth is more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, meth’s and mine are the same.*
        I know, you must think I’m such a nerd, but I actually got a D in sophomore English. The only reason I remember that quote at all is because my dyslexic ass had to memorize it for a class project. I didn’t even read the book, either, I just watched half the movie on my phone on the Peter Pan bus (barf) on the way back to school from the city the night before the project was due, and I never would have even been able to memorize the quote except for I parachuted a giant nugget of crystal before class and repeated the words back to myself over and over again in the dining hall until I started to think I literally was Cathy, and then I began hallucinating that there was a tiny Heathcliff with red eyes and angel wings hovering behind my shoulder whispering creepy sex stuff into my ear, so I took two Ativans and drank half a cup of coffee before walking to the humanities building, and then, when it was my turn to get up and talk, puked on the floor in front of the whole class. I swear to God. I told Ms. Keesler I was having a panic attack and she sent me to student health but still flunked me for the day. She’s a total hardass.
        But so yeah, English is not my strongest subject. I’m like, so good at math though. No seriously, like really good at math. I’ll probably do something with math or computers I guess. Like as a backup plan if being an actress doesn’t work out, which, as my mother constantly reminds me (or used to anyway, back when she at least pretended to care), is almost certain to be the case. My mother is obsessed with backup plans, and it’s easy to see why. Her generation (the millennials – ew) was always told to follow their dreams, and look how that turned out. Millions on millions of talentless, disaffected, self-absorbed wastoids who, after pursuing and failing to find success in fields they had zero aptitude for, all became therapists and teachers and guidance counselors so they could foist their own dysfunction and misery onto unsuspecting neurotics, mental patients and helpless teenagers, pretending all the while that they were somehow healing us, teaching us, helping us grow. Ugh. I feel sick to my stomach just thinking about it.
        Frankly, the trophy wives – like my mother – are the lucky ones.
        My mother pretends she used to be a singer but really she was just a glorified groupie who barnacled onto my dad during the Dude Criminal Y2K Reunion Tour and squeezed me out as insurance to cover her financials for the next eighteen years, which ended up partially backfiring because my dad was awarded full custody due to mothers’s out of control drinking and general insanity anyway. He did pay for her to go to rehab, though, which is where she met Marty Cooperman, the investment banker who eventually became her second husband.
        She replaced alcohol and pills with a borderline obsessive devotion to a string of religious and spiritual movements – Buddhism, Taoism, Shinto, and finally Judaism (which she had to convert to in order to marry Marty). She recorded an album of chants and devotional music that sold about seventeen units, moved upstate with Marty, had another kid (my little brother Leon), got really into macramé and ceramics, and finally tried to start like eight different lifestyle brands, each more out of touch and less successful than the last. She’s still working on that now, actually. She was super inspired by Gwyneth Paltrow’s eighty dollar pussy candles so now she’s trying to make a whole line of products that smell like pussy. Pussy hand cream, pussy deodorant, and my personal favorite, pussy silver spray, which, as the name suggests, is a vagina-flavored silver water you squirt onto your crystals and Tarot cards and around your meditation area to draw out and suffocate negative entities using the magic of pussy power. You can even spray it onto minor cuts and bruises to help them heal faster. I’m not recommending you do that, or that you purchase any of these products, because you definitely shouldn’t. It’s all bullshit. But that’s my mother’s jam. Bullshit pussy everything. Personally I detest the smell of my mother’s products. If I wanted to smell fish I’d go to Chinatown.
        “Your vibration has lowered to the point where I can hardly even occupy the same physical plane as you anymore without growing ill,” my mother said in the car on the way to dinner from the bus station. “I can barely even see your aura. You look like a shroud, a shadow of your former self. Just looking at you I feel the qi bunching up in my liver and getting all sluggish, clogged almost, like a stopped toilet. Ugh. It’s a horrible feeling. How can you keep doing this to yourself?”
        What she really meant to ask was how could I keep doing this to her, but she’s clever enough to mask the fact that she believes the entire world revolves around her by couching her many complaints in the language of a stern but caring authority figure. Which, gag, I literally forgot to laugh. Honestly I think she was just mad that day because we were supposed to have an early dinner and then drive into the city to see Hamilton with Marty and Leon, and I had to go and ruin the whole plan by getting brutally gang raped and kidnapped and showing up to the bus station in White Plains four hours later than expected. The funny part is, I didn’t even know about the whole Hamilton plan until I dropped my suitcase in the trunk of the Lexus and hopped into the front seat next to my mother.
        “Wow, okay,” I said when she’d told me. “I could have just stayed in the city and met you guys in Times Square.”
        “Well excuse me for assuming you were coming from Vermont,” my mother said. “You know, the place where we pay for you to live and go to school.”
        “I really hardly live in Vermont at all anymore, mother,” I said. “I much prefer spending time in Manhattan. Plus, Dad pays my tuition, not you.”
        “You’re absolutely right,” said my mother. “And while I’m sure your father would be delighted to learn that his sixty thousand dollars a year is going towards you getting high in hotel rooms with junkies and pimps and God knows what else, maybe this could be an opportunity for you to take stock of your life. For you to start thinking about doing right by the people who sacrifice so much for you, instead of just roaming around New York City unsupervised and unhinged, just looking for your next fix. I mean my God, Simon, can you not see that you’re out of control? This is insane! It’s gone too far. What do we have to do to get through to you? Why won’t you let us help you?”
        “Jesus,” I said. “This is why I never tell you anything.” I’d texted ahead of time to explain that I was going to be late, that I was talking to SVU detectives and it was going to be a few hours before I could catch the next bus. I was just trying to be considerate, and look what it got me: victim-blamed, deadnamed, and fucking re-traumatized. Now do you see why I hate the bitch?
        We turned into the parking lot of this bullshit hibachi place and circled around trying to find a spot. I scanned the cars in the lot. Toyota, Honda, Toyota, Ford, Jeep. Chevy. Gag! Mortifying.
        “Mother, what are we doing here?” I said. “This place is ghetto.”
        “This place is not ghetto,” she said. “Everybody eats here. Marty and I saw Justin Timberlake here not two weeks ago, with that lovely Jessica what’s-her-face he’s married to.”
        “Biel, mother. Jessica Biel,” I said. “And do you really expect me to believe that? Just look at all these cut-rate sedans. We’re the only Lexus in this entire lot. There’s not even an Acura. Seriously, mother, I thought we had standards.”
        Apparently, though, we didn’t. We parked and went inside, which is when I realized I was starting to come down. Hard. Shit. I bounced up and down like a cartoon accordion across the parking lot pavement, then scampered through the door my mother held open. The hostess crinkled up her nose when she saw me walk in, but brightened immediately when my mother appeared behind me.
        “Mrs. Cooperman!” she said. “How lovely to see you again. And this must be your…”
        “Yes,” said my mother.. “This is my…this is mine.” I glared at both of them.
        “Will Mr. Cooperman and Leon be joining us this evening?”
        “No, they went into the city this evening for a Broadway musical.”
        “Oh! How fun! Which show? Right this way.”
        She led us past all the miserable drunken middle class birthday celebration families gathered around the hibachi grills to a tiny table in the darkest corner of the dining room, handed us our menus and bustled away. I looked around at all the fat, miserable people pretending to enjoy the sad spectacle of their flaming hibachi meals being prepared, and tried to pick out which among them were closet freaks, psycho sex fiends, drug addicts, kiddie fuckers or serial killers. Honestly, probably most of them. You can’t live that kind of boring, middle-of-the-road life without channeling your rage, your frustration, the anger you feel towards your boss, your wife, your stuck-up smelly babies, into something truly terrible and depraved. Everybody’s a fucking pervert and no one wants to admit it. But I guess that’s kind of the way it has to be, because if we all admitted our fetishes they would no longer thrill us. Just look at what’s happened with kink and BDSM. It used to be this wild, shocking, horrifying secret, and now every lumpy dumpy thirty-something polyamorous pretending-to-be-queer-but-actually–straight girl on OkCupid is looking to get hogtied, spat upon, nipple-clamped, and humiliated – all perfectly consensually, of course. Don’t forget your safe word! It makes me want to yawn and vomit at the same time.
        I looked at my mother as she fixed her face in her pocket mirror reflection, redrawing her lip liner and smoothing a rogue eyebrow hair. Her newly cropped mom cut, the freshly-freckled skin. Slight jowls. She hadn’t bounced back from her second pregnancy like she had the first, and it was killing her, I could tell. I wondered what her kink was, how she dealt with her rage. Probably something hella boring, like pee. I wondered who she was fucking. Certainly not Marty Cooperman. They probably didn’t even have sex the one time. Leon had probably been artificially inserted into my mother. I wondered if anyone would ever tell him he began his existence in a plastic cup, that he’d been launched into my mother’s womb with a turkey baster. I’ll tell him, I decided. He deserves to know the truth.
        “So what were you doing in a hotel room with a strange man, anyway?” my mother said.
        “It wasn’t a strange man,” I said. “It was my friend Tyler.”
        “And your friend Tyler raped you? Is he someone you know from school?”
        “No, he’s not…Tyler isn’t the one who raped me, okay? He’s a good guy.”
        The waitress came and dropped off our drinks: Thai iced coffee for me, Thai iced tea, pineapple juice, still and sparkling water for my mother. She’s always been a beverage queen. She sipped her tea, winced at the sweetness, sipped her waters, sipped her juice, then sipped her waters again.
        “So you were just hanging out with your good friend Tyler, who you don’t know from school, and then someone else raped you? Who is this Tyler, exactly? How old is he? Does he know you’re only seventeen?”
        “Like you’re one to talk,” I said. “You were eighteen when you had me. That means you were seventeen when you were screwing Dad, and he was like, a hundred.” I sipped my iced coffee. My mouth tasted like literal shit. I could feel the contents of my stomach transforming into vomit. It was only a matter of time. The condensed milk in the coffee seemed to curdle as soon as it passed through the plastic straw I held between my lips. I chewed the end of the straw, tried to wrap my tongue in it. “Why didn’t you just sue dad, anyway, instead of having me? For like statutory rape or whatever?”
        “What on Earth are you talking about?” she said.
        “All you wanted was his money. Wouldn’t that have been easier? To just get an abortion and sue him for rape?”
        “I can’t believe you’re saying these things to me right now, Simon.”
        “My name. Is fucking. Sybil.”
        “Right. Okay, Sybil. So let me ask you this, Sybil. Why do you let these things happen to you? Why, Sybil? Why? Why do you put yourself out there for these people to take advantage of you? Do you get some kind of a sick thrill from your own fucking mortification? Where’s the rub? What am I not understanding here?”
        “Oh, okay, so you’re blaming me now for what happened?”
        “Um, well, if you didn’t put yourself in these kinds of situations, then maybe they wouldn’t fucking happen.”
        “Mom, calm down. You’re like Jamie Lee Curtis right now with the fucking iced tea. People are staring. God.”
        The waitress brought our meals: rare steak for me, rabbit food for my mother. My mother pushed the lettuce around on her plate with her salad fork, drizzled the dressing. I sawed off a huge piece of meat and shoved it into my mouth, chewing loudly like a psychotic wind-up toy. My mother took a deep breath, exhaled audibly through her mouth.
        “You think you’re the only person who wants to be somebody else?” she said, leaning over her plate and whispering through her teeth. “Join the fucking club, kid. Welcome to life. Everything is shit, all our lives are meaningless, and we all just sit around wishing we were somebody else, anywhere but here, spending time with people other than our families, with different hair and better skin, skinnier and prettier and without any blemishes, with a nicer house, a kinder husband, a bigger pool, kids who actually…kids who…” She trailed off, about to cry. She looked at my steak. “I can’t believe whatever’s left of your conscience will allow you to eat that. Cows are sacred to Hindus, you know.”
        “Good thing I’m not a Hindu then,” I said, my mouth full of meat. I chewed and chewed but the steak seemed to expand and dry out the more I chewed on it, like it was becoming beef jerky in my mouth. I took a sip of iced coffee and swished it around, trying to dissolve the chewed-up meat into the liquid. It didn’t work. “Why did we come here if you didn’t want me to eat the food that’s on the menu?”
        “I thought you’d get sashimi or a salad,” she said.
        “Sashimi is fish,” I said.
        “It’s different. Fish can’t feel.”
        “That’s fucking bullshit.”
        I didn’t even care whether fish could feel or not, I just wanted to argue with her. Everything she said was wrong. She’s a fucking moron. She doesn’t understand me at all. It’s all fucking bullshit. I decided right then I’d go back to the city. There was no way I was spending the weekend here. I excused myself, went to the bathroom and spat the bite of steak I’d been chewing into the toilet, then stuck my finger down my throat and puked, iced coffee and bile bubbling up out of my stomach and into the porcelain bowl. I pulled out my phone.
        Hey, I texted Tyler. He texted back immediately. 
        Want to hang out? 
        Fuck yeah. Same place?
        Sure. Hey, did you drug me and sell me to some fucking tunnel urchins so they could pimp me out?
        Yeah lol, he wrote. Sorry about that.
        It’s chill, I said. But this time let’s not do that, okay? I’ll bring my mom’s debit card.
        Sweet, he said. See you soon! Xoxoxo
        When I came out of the bathroom my mother was already outside. It was a hot, balmy evening. Summer’s last hurrah. She stood in the parking lot smoking a cigarette, staring off into space. She looked tired and sad and forty, even though she’s only thirty-five. The smoke smelled amazing.
        “I thought you quit,” I said.
        “I got it from the hostess,” she said.
        “Can I have a drag?”
        We passed the cigarette back and forth, smoked it right down to the filter. 
        “Look,” my mother said. “I’m sorry I yelled at you in there, Sybil. I’m just under a lot of stress right now.” All stress and no struggle, I thought. My mother to a T. She took the last, long drag, then threw the butt on the ground outside the restaurant and scuffed it into the pavement with the tippy toe of her Jimmy Choo crystal-embellished black suede mule.
        “Those are nice shoes,” I said.
        “Yeah,” she said. “They are.”
        We drove back to the bus station. My mother asked me some questions about school and I responded as succinctly and politely as I could. When we got to the station she popped the trunk and went around the back of the Lexus. I watched carefully as she did so, and as she removed my suitcase from the trunk I reached into her purse, found her wallet, slid the Citibank Visa debit card from its slot and stuffed it into the back pocket of my high-waisted jeans. We didn’t hug. I haven’t seen her since.


*quote from Wuthering Heights by Ellis Bell