Albert Meets the Lady

I got the feeling he was looking at me on the up and up, a valid customer and not a cop. I was a white boy and maybe, like Jed, a golden customer, one with a lot of money as I’m sure Jed was. My courier took me through a pink door with the word “Boo” written on it in black marker. Sometimes you know when you shouldn’t be in a place no matter what you seek, no matter how important it is to find it, because you know that if you were in any way different in makeup and ability you could melt into the atmosphere and disappear, lose your personality, and be glad that you did. This was such a place of sin.
The first thing I noticed was the girl. She had no clothes on and she was sound asleep on a red, crushed imitation velvet couch. Somebody had strung a banner of Jimi over the couch. Color didn’t seem to matter here. The girl was white with a little nose and strawberry blonde hair. She wore a strand of pearls and when I walked by her I noticed a little blood came out of her vagina. On the same couch was a strong looking black man, also asleep, but who woke up when I walked in. He wore only shorts. I didn’t fear his noticing me because, like everybody else, he had become a ghost from whatever it was that he had taken. Others sat around. The smell of chemicals and marijuana filled the air.
“Wait here,” the kid said.
He went into a back room and disappeared. I stood there, not knowing what to do or say or where to look, with a sick feeling in my stomach. I looked from face to face to face. Four black men, two white women, two black women, three Hispanic men, one Hispanic woman, and a white baby being held by an old black woman in the corner. The old woman motioned to me, so I walked over to her.
“Don’t you do this, baby. This is my home and I don’t allow no drugs in my home. I want you out of here.”
The kid turned the corner out of the back room and his arms went wide.
“Bitch, you don’t live here anymore. Shut the fuck up and don’t mess your diapers no more.”
“You kids ruined our neighborhood.”
“You just an old, sagging bitch. Sorry bout her, man. She’s the mama of the Lady. Speaking of whom, will see you now.”
He motioned a goodbye to me by raising his fist and closing his fingers onto his thumb so that his hand formed a sort of teardrop. Then he bounced it a few times a couple inches above my own hand. I just stared at him as he walked out the door. A blue light came out of the room where the Lady was.
The Lady lay on a huge bed. She wore a white dress, but it looked blue with the black light bulb in her unshaded lamp beside her. Her arm was still wrapped with a rubber hose.
“Sit down,” she says.
I sit.
“You don’t fly do you?”
“I do.”
“No, no, honey. You don’t understand. You don’t fly for smack?”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“You know, take it up the ass.”
“No.”
“You don’t share needles?”
“No.”
“You seem sweet then. Why don’t you come over here.”
But I couldn’t move. I knew what she wanted, but I couldn’t give it to her. I could hardly see her for the light in the room was so dark. But there was this glow in there too. Is it possible that there are little electric particles in the air, and when someone is too close to who they really are their aura, or something about thems interacts with these particles and lights up a room? I saw an orange glow coming from this woman’s head. Orangish blue, really, and it was eerie. I’d never seen anybody so blended in with their environment. It really scared me. I mean I looked around all dizzy-like thinking I just had to get out of there. I’d never seen anybody like The Lady in all of my life. I wished the black boy were back in the room to guard me from this woman’s eyes. I remembered the story of Perseus, right away, and how he wasn’t supposed to look into the eyes of Medusa. I understood. I did not look at her again, but kept my eyes on her feet where her robe ended or on the box of heroin samples laid out to her side next to the clean syringes just sitting there waiting for someone like me. I would let her think anything she wanted if she could tell me where Jed was.
“I’m looking for Jed Jones.”
“Jed’s dead, baby,” she meowed. “Jed’s not coming round here no more. We buried him yesterday. I watched him fly away. His spirit just up and flew away. That’s what I’m here for, you know. I help people get to the other side.”
“Jed’s not dead,” I said.
“I’m sorry, baby, but Jed is dead. I watched him go myself. Became an angel.”
“What does Jed look like,” I asked her.
“Jed looks like everybody who comes in here, baby. Jed is Everyman.”
“Then you don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You said Jed. I only ever knew one Jed and he was a southern white boy, if I remember right.”
“You fuckin liar. You said Jed’s dead.”
“I may be a liar, but with Jed I’m sure. Hot headed, aren’t we? I know who you are, baby. You the baby brother. Jed lay on this bed for more than two months one time. You think there any better place to go when you in the state Jed was in? I don’t count on Jed being alive any more than I count on that old woman in there being alive much longer.”
“Then where is he?”
“Little policemen all lined up in a row! Aren’t we dictatorial with our questions?”
I just shook my head and looked at her. All the fear was leaving me as I looked at her and saw her for what she was: an aging, heroin-filled whore. I looked at her like I had been looking at aging, heroin-filled whores my whole life, like all I’d done up to that point was look at aging, heroin-filled whores.
“Fuck you, you cunt,” I said and I meant it.
“Get out!” she screamed. “If you don’t know where Jed is then you don’t know Jed. What do you think the Priestess was about? You think Jed stayed on with me after he met her? Fuck Jed. He didn’t know what was good for him. He didn’t know who cared about him. You find the Priestess and you’ll find Jed.”
I had talked to the Priestess, Helen Capowitz, lead singer of Moxy Priestess, the Jewish American Princess who hadn’t done shit in the entertainment industry since the breakup of the band. We talked to her a million times when we first got panicked, but she always denied she knew anything. But she and Jed were close, and now this woman was saying something new, and I appreciated it.
“Sorry, ma’am,” I said.
“Boy, just go find Jed and bring him back. You want some?” she motioned to her stash.
“Nah, ain’t got time to screw my life up. Screwed up enough already.”

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Published in: on October 6, 2009 at 3:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

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