Copyright © 1980 by Tiki Kritzer Seger.  All rights reserved.


It is dark when I awake; there are shadows everywhere.  I lift my tousled head reluctantly from my tear-dampened pillow.  The last pale pink light of sunrise streaks across the bare white walls of my abode.  It is cold.  The chill damp stabs through tender flesh to gnaw at brittle bones.  I glimpse my reflection in the old cracked mirror which is the only ornamentation in the cheerless room; it frightens me.  Everything frightens me now. 


I stumble hesitatingly into the ancient bathroom and slowly draw myself a bath, chilling my parched fingers in water that never seems to be warm enough.  I achingly pull on faded dungarees, a flannel shirt which has faded to a nondescript grey through many washings and tennis shoes full of holes. 


I cringe as I step outside into the chill emptiness of early January.  I don't bother to lock the door behind me; it doesn't matter; I possess nothing worth stealing.  The filthy window in the door makes the depressed room look far away. 


I painfully make my halting path uphill to the corner, where I drag my last few crumpled and dingy dollar bills from out of my torn pockets and make my transaction.  Almost eagerly, I turn and retrace my steps until I am once more inside my crumbling lavatory.  Using a rusted soda cap, I heat my security over the last dredges of a candle and fill an ancient syringe with trembling hands.  After several unsuccessful tries, I finally slide the blunt and dirty needle into my last vein.  I smile and then relax...