After his head hit the carpeted floor, Steve enjoyed a moment of lucidity, but just a moment

After his head hit the carpeted floor, Steve enjoyed a moment of lucidity, but just a moment. The pain crushing his chest stole his clarity right back, and this time, it wasn't giving it back.

"So, this is a heart attack" he thought.

"Hmmm, maybe I shouldn't have hit that last line of coke."

"STEVE!"

Amy was always excitable.

"STEVEN!"

Mom?

"Steven Argyle!"

No, it wasn't Mom, it was never Mom. It was Gladys, the governess, and how did Gladys come to stand next to Amy. She's been dead for years. Steve remembers her well.

"Steven Argyle, this room is a mess! Do you want your mother and father to see this room in this condition? Serve you right if they didn't take you to the movies tonight."

Mama had been busy with the various charities all week, and Papa had been away with business all week, but he was coming home tonight, and he promised to take Mama and him to the movies just as soon as his plane landed. He had to hurry though, so he worked hard, as hard as his five year old hands allowed. He put his toys away and straightened his bed linens, then out to the living room. He would be the first to see either one, as soon as they come in. One hour, two hours. As the sixth hour passes, Steven remembers Papa carrying him to bed.

Guess the charities and business meetings ran long.

"STEVE!"

Holy Shit Amy! Chill out already. I'm just having a heart attack. Where did Gladys go?

"Steve?"

Steve stares harder at Amy.

Why is she so damn hyper, and where did that little girl come from? Is that Rosie?

"STEVE!"

Yes, it was Rosie, but how...? Steve remembers the time...

Rosie may be twelve, but she looks older. Steve knows he's lucky that she's his girlfriend, and not Larry Johnson's. Rosie is the prettiest girl in the sixth grade, Larry is the smartest and most popular, and as long as Rosie likes him, Steve has one up on smarty-pants Larry. Steve is the luckiest sixth grade four-eyed boy around, until he saw Rosie with Larry in the woods behind the playground, and he's smoking a cigarette? What really shocked Steve was she took a puff when he offered.

"Rosie? What are you doing?"

Larry looked his way first, then Rosie looked, and they both laughed.

"Mama's boy! Mama's boy!"

"I'm not a Mama's boy! You shouldn't be smokin' Rosie. Larry's bad news."

"He's got more balls than you! Show me you're not afraid and take a puff."

"No, I'll get in trouble."

"That's why Larry's my boyfriend now, because you're a Mama's boy. Now get away from me, You make me sick."

Steve couldn't contain the tears.

Why? Why did you laugh? Damn you Rosie, I loved you! I really did!

"Steve! I love you! C'mon, wake up. Don't you die on me you bastard!

Yeah, die. Rosie, why?

"Here you go Steve-O, this is some good shit."

"Yeah."

"Oh, come on Steve. Don't tell me you're still a chicken-shit."

"Fuck you, Larry!"

Steve didn't want to seem like he was scared. Fitting in with a crowd, the "right" crowd, is everything when you're sixteen, but he had never done dope before. Larry seemed to like it well enough, and Rosie. To think at one time Steve really loved her. Now, he would need twenty dollars and an appointment to love her. Her parents threw her out of the house over a year ago, and Rosie now lived with whoever was her husband for the night. She ate what she could, even from the trash out back of the flea-bag motel where she conducted most of her business. A few of Steve's older acquaintances have needed to sneak to the free clinic after loving her for treatment. All she was about now was drugs, and the sex to pay for them. Rosie was miserable, and Steve held the suspicion that she wanted to die, but Larry kept her going with his lies that he loved her, and he took whatever money she didn't smoke up herself.

"Well!"

Larry held out the skinny cigarette. The unmistakable odor of marijuana hung in the air, and Steve watched intently as the joint sparkled slightly as the PCP crystals popped with the embers.

"I guess you're still a chicken-shit!"

"Really. Look, just give me a 'hale. I'll show you how shitty I can be."

You know, our conversations weren't very enlightening at that age.

Steve held the noxious smoke in his lungs for as long as he could, immersing himself in the ecstasy of calmness, followed by an hour of horror watching demon upon demon snatch the souls from him and Rosie. He watched in utter indifference as Rosie methodically carved neat lines up her wrists, and watched the pretty red water flow out from her. Rosie with rose-red water. As Steve came back to reality, Rosie breathed her last, and Steve found himself alone, holding her corpse.

Right Larry, you really loved her you son of a bitch!

"STEVE! Why Steve, why? Why did you do that coke? I told ya not to!"

Amy's still just as unstable as ever.

"I told ya not to!"

Yeah, yeah, I know you told me not to. You told me don't be a hog.

"Like I told ya, this the good stuff."

"It better be all that at a hundred a bag."

"It is, best blow out there. Prime shit."

"All right."

Amy hit it first, separating, cutting, and lining the cocaine like a pro; a true artist with a razor.

"Got a dollar?"

Steve peels a dollar bill away from the group of twenties and fifties. Amy rolls it and sucks up the first line with ease, stopping to wipe her nose and escape into the fantasy. Now, it's Steve's turn.

"Hey, don't be a hog."

Amy was right, and Steve knew it. He had already done a couple of hits just before she arrived; he was already high.

"Baby, I'm serious."

"I can handle it."

"Truth was, he didn't know if he could, and he didn't care. Before he even felt the first line, he sucked up the second, then the third. That's when he felt it, the crushing weight, like a really fat broad right on his breast bone, and he felt himself falling backwards.

"STEVE!"

The fall felt like it took twenty minutes, it was almost enjoyable. Of course, it was only a couple of seconds before he hit the floor.

Ain't that nothin'. All my success, all my money, and here I'm a stupid sumbitch foaming at the mouth on the floor.

"STEVE! Speak to me! Oh God!"

"Speak to me sir! What's your name?"

"Stop CPR for vitals check. Vital signs. BP 86/40, respirations eight and shallow. We're losing him doctor."

Oh give me a break. "We're losing him."

A long beep blares from somewhere behind him.

"BP zero, pulse zero, respirations zero."

"Epinephrine STAT!"

"Right here."

"Does he have any ID?"

"License says 'Steven Eugene Argyle'."

"Really? The Steven Argyle of Argyle Enterprises. He owned most of the rental properties in the city."

"Well, he's a goner. What was he doing?"

"He was at a party hittin' some blow, his girlfriend called us."

"Blow? What's that officer?"

"Blow, cocaine. Guess that means his heart did a blowout."

"Yeah, right. Well, goes to show ya, he had the bucks, but he didn't have the smarts."

"Guess so."

"All right then, discontinue CPR. Mark the time. Death occurred at 8:38 p.m. Cause: cardiac arrest, secondary to narcotics overdose."

"Blowout, how funny."