A Man Who Has Done Drugs Pitches His Memoir

It all went downhill during the summer that time forgot to remember

Image: Jonathan Silverberg

Hey, what’s up Literary Agent guy? Good meeting tonight, I guess. Cool we’re in the same recovery group. Or you know, not cool. Whatever. Nothing’s really that cool anymore. Right, I’ve got to get going too, putting the finishing touches on my six-hundred-page memoir about doing drugs — but, hey, do you have a hot sec?

Yeah, so I wrote the thing over the last couple weeks. I know we’ve all got our stories in here, but I’m telling you, man, I did so many drugs. And I’m talking hard drugs, real hard, like if I had to pick a metal that is analogous to the drugs I did, I would pick titanium. That is the hardest metal in the world. And if I had to pick a metaphor for my relationship to the drugs, I’d say they were my lover — a lying, cheating seductress that kept me locked in her bedchamber quivering, begging for just one more kiss, just a little bit — oh, yeah, no I don’t like heavy-handed metaphors either. I like my prose straight, no mixer. For sure. I hate metaphors.

So my book goes like this. I’m a kid living fast and rough in New York City. Grew up rich, had an enormous trust fund, spent my twenties and thirties blowing it all on drugs. At first I was living the high life (no pun intended — if you think I intended that pun, man, I will mess you up), but I ended up in hell. Blew every cent. It all started to go downhill during the summer that time forgot to remember — because Time was nodding out on hard drugs.

Everything was dark and gritty. There was grime on everything. I lived in a very dangerous zone of the city. Cigarette butts were everywhere — and in every alley, sex was happening. And while I was doing all of the many drugs, I was also having sex. Not normal sex, but dark, extra-degrading sex.

Sometimes I rode subway trains to nowhere, waking up with some dude drooling and asleep on my shoulder. I’d look out the train window and see the lights in the tunnels, and I’d be reminded of the carnival rides my dad used to take me on, back in the good old days. Other times I’d get arrested and go to jail for a stint here and there, and you know what? I loved it. Wanna know why? Because there are no mirrors in jail, and I hated mirrors. Wanna know why? Because when I looked in them, I no longer recognized my own face. That is because my face changed significantly from the hard drugs. My skin was a mess of scars and bruises from all the fistfights I got into, every single day. With myself.

I know there are many recovery memoirs, sure. No, I haven’t read that one. No, not that one either. I don’t read. I don’t want to pollute myself with other people’s words and lesser struggles. I have a pure vision for my memoir, the raw, brutal truth is festering in me, and I don’t want to dilute it with somebody else’s whining.

You think my story sounds like many others? That’s hilarious, man. But I don’t think you heard me right, specifically regarding the fact that I wasn’t just hooked, I was dragged under, down to the bottom of the sea — but the sea was made of hard drugs, and I drank that sea (by which I mean that I consumed hard drugs) until my whole world was a beach. And what is a beach without water? A desert. I lived in an infinite desert of my own making. Each grain of sand, equivalent to a kilo of the hardest drugs every done.

Oh, and by the way I didn’t go to some cushy rehab. I paid a prostitute to tie me to my kitchen chair and I sat there for two weeks with a leather belt to bite on when the tormenting visions became too much, and I just sweated and screamed and waited for the demons to reveal themselves to me. They burst out of every orifice of my body, screeching and taunting me: DRUGS! DRUGS! GO DO HARD DRUGS! But the lady of the night, my guardian devil, she kept me there in that chair until I was clean.

No, no. Look, let’s not talk about the logistics of the chair. Who cares? I sat in a chair for two weeks. I was tied to it and could not get up. No, nobody will care how I dealt with “the call of nature,” as you so squarely put it. I sure as hell didn’t. No, I’m not lying. This is all 100% true. And you know what? I have never lied a single time in my whole life. My first words were, “How well I have learned that there is no fence to sit on between heaven and hell. There is a deep, wide gulf, a chasm, and in that chasm is no place for any man.” And there are no truer words than those.

Oh, really? Well, if Johnny Cash said that too, then good for him. But I meant it more.

You know what? I don’t like your attitude either. And I never wanted you to represent my book. I don’t care. I don’t even want an agent, or a publisher. I’m going to do the book myself, which is much more punk rock anyway. Gonna get it printed, bound — I don’t need anybody.

Oh, so you’re going to tell me that in fact hundreds of thousands of people do what I’m describing, and it’s called “self-publishing,” and it is hardly punk rock? Whatever, man. Whatever. Yeah, walk away — you can’t handle my shit. No worries, nobody can. I’ll keep wandering down my lonesome road, like a wolf. A wolf that’s all alone. An alone wolf, if you will.

Did you hear that? THE ALONE WOLF — that’s gonna be the title!

Emma Smith-Stevens is the author of The Australian, a novel forthcoming from Dzanc Books in May 2017.