Angel

A Monologue

It's been two and a half days since I've had a chase. Almost sixty freaking hours. I'm pacing my room, back and forth, up and down, wearin' out the floors. I hate when I get like this: uptight, moody, paranoid sometimes. It's like I'm getting my period, only like twenty times worse...at least. But it's worth it. There's nothing like chasing the dragon, heating the foil, smoke coming off in little coils, little streams of, like...ecstasy.

Shit. Sixty hours. I'm starting to shake. I just - just want a chase, you know? Besides, it's my birthday. Gimme a break, huh?

See, the problem with smack is that it costs. Money. Yeah, and the problem with money is that there's never enough. So you start to sell your stuff. The problem there is that you run out of stuff. (laughs) I'm looking around my apartment. Hell, there's nothing here. Decorations and shit were the first to go. Those glass figurines I had sitting on my coffee table - Hummels, both of 'em. Paid for almost a two week's worth- well, back then it did.

Then went the extra furniture. I mean, who needs a coffee table if you got nothin' to put on it, right? And then the major stuff. It didn't feel right, selling the washer and dryer, but...you start to feel like...and, besides, there's a laundromat right down the street-that's the wonderful thing about this apartment: location. It's near everything. It...what was I...it's hard to think straight sometimes. Screw it. God, and ounce would do, but...Johnny doesn't cut the checks till tomorrow.

Maybe I could borrow - that's what you do after you sell, you borrow. Some people do it the other way around, but not me. Angel Nash can take care of herself, thank you. Mostly...except tonight - but this is rare; this doesn't happen a lot, it's just that no one will lend to me anymore. My friends - the people I used to chase with - they've got problems of their own. God! I just gotta - calm down Angel, come on girl, hold it together. (laughs) My ring finger won't stop shaking. Damn it! I gotta - can't wait till tomorrow! I...maybe Johnny, maybe Johnny will give me an advance. Yeah, he's probably down at the bar right now. It's like thirty degrees outside - where's my coat? (laughs) I sold my coat one time. It dropped down to like twenty-eight the next day. I bought that back in a hurry. I used to be stupid like that - selling stuff I needed. I'm smarter now. I just...

The bar where I work is only three blocks down. Like I said, it's all about location. Johnny - he's the guy that runs it - he's probably down there right now balancing the books and cutting checks - I'm a bartender for him. (laughs) It works out well, 'cause I don't touch the stuff. That shit'll mess you up, lemme tell ya. Both my parents were drunks, so I know better. I'm smarter than that. Johnny...he's...uh...he's good guy, good boss. He's had some tough breaks, you know, tough shit. He was in 'nam, saw some heavy fighting. (laughs) Saw. (giggles) Johnny's blind - grenade exploded next to him. Screwed up his face real bad. Hell, he made it out though, gotta give him that. Didn't take no social security or disability or food stamps, not Johnny. He's worked hard; he's a good man. He'll help me out.

Bar's closed, but the back's open. Always is, 'cause Johnny don't like messin' with the key. Most of the lights are out, and my heart's racin' - I...(deep breath)...I just gotta calm down. His office door's open, so I step inside - whoa! Grabbin' the door frame so I don't fall over. Dizzy spell or something. There's a big manila envelope lying facedown on his desk...open. There's a bunch of hundreds stickin' out.

(cautiously) I...I don't see Johnny...wonder where he is -he's usually...I pick up the envelope and look inside. Damn. Must be the profits for the week, the month maybe. I look up - Johnny's comin' down the hall from the bathroom. He's got his cane, but he knows this place so well that he don't need it. I wanna move, but I can't - I'm stuck in place...the envelope's in my hand.

He stops in the doorway. "Who's there?" he calls.

I don't say nothin'.

"Who's there?"

Heart's poundin' so loud I swear he can hear it, but I don't move, don't speak.

He takes a step into the room and starts feeling on the wall for the phone. He finds it and grabs the handset and feels for the Braille buttons. He starts punching numbers...just three of 'em. The envelope feels so heavy and I can't stand still, just gotta move, gotta run, gotta get a chase before I go crazy.

"There's somebody in my bar," Johnny whispers. "Blue Dog Icehouse, 1217 Magnolia."

I'm thinking a million miles an hour and so much money but I can't - I just gotta say something but it's too late now -gotta run but I can't leave without the money 'cause I'll go crazy if I don't get a chase and I...(absolute calm) I took two years of karate when I was little. I grew up in a rough neighborhood, and my parents - drunk as they were - knew they couldn't keep me in the house, so they did something smart for once and signed me up for lessons so the bullies couldn't beat me up - or worse. That was years ago, but some things you never forget.

I'm around the desk in a heartbeat, envelope in hand, and Johnny's blocking the doorway and I scream like they taught me, kick out and Johnny hears it and brings up his cane but he's too late 'cause my heel smashes his chest and I hear something snap and he's flying backwards and the phone's falling and he hits the wall...hard.

Phone bounces on the floor, picture falls from the wall, picture of Johnny standing in front of Blue Dog sixteen years ago when it opened, falls face-down and shatters on his head as he hits the floor. There's glass everywhere and blood on his face, and those stupid dark glasses he's always wearin' are hanging off his nose and I've never seen his eyes before...they're like...icelight, but so sad, so empty.

I'm shaking and I just stand there...till I hear the phone lady saying "Hello? Hell-"

And then I run.

I'm back in my house - it's stupid I know, but I gotta calm down, gotta get it together so I can make the buy. I'm laughing, euphoria almost thinking about all the money and how nobody'll ever know it was me. I hear a police car speed by...siren . I open the envelope and shake the cash out...there must be two, three thousand bucks here - I...wait, there's something else, a little blue corner sticking out. I pull it out - it's...a little envelope. I flip it over...it's, it's for me - "Angel Nash" it says, written in Johnny's shaky-hand scrawl.

I rip it open and pull out the card. It's got flowers and shit on the front and I open it up. A pair of hundreds fall out.

(pause)

Dear Angel I read. Happy Birthday. I know things are tough and I...I can't read the rest - I'm shaking so bad.

More sirens. (horror) An ambulance.