On the second day, she still couldn't decide if she should stop consuming the mindphasing orbs. The blood in her borrowed system was already changing, adjusting to natural phenomena but mockingly, the store that sold the orbs stayed open like the legs of a whore, inviting her to partake in the beauty of regression to an alternate mindphase. She walked past without staring at those sets, forcing her mind onto other things like shimmering nests and power struggles of faded re-op-men.
It would penetrate her heart if she decided against the clean, if she let the fog drop into her gut one last time. The blackish, brown nano-compounds would corrupt her cells (or so she told herself), it would enter her head and make things clouded, make her wish for other false experiences. March away from the store, she told herself. Demand change, draw the line. It's easy to make the transaction again isn't it? The men selling the items knew that as well, so they prominently displayed their shelves with the small colored boxes, imprinted with promising phases, taunting and mocking the choices of the woman. They even called out to her because why not? Three days ago she bought her last set and they did not fully know she wanted to quit. Or maybe they did know and all the more persuaded her with gestures and invitations.
She walked to the back of the car lots behind the building facing the store, smiled at the garbage men who gathered for rest, read numbers off the plates, signs on the vehicles, anything to distract her mind from the orbs. It had offered her an attitude to life, a way to celebrate destruction and illusion, to romanticize with death. Turning the corner unto evening streets, she found the art cafe barely full so she choose to have the black drink instead. At least it wasn't so death filled.
Very absently, she consumed the black thing while watching kids smear paint on overpriced canvasses. There were single parents there, lit by orange overhangs, a woman who had her face drained of all color but whose heart, she felt, was brimming with a speculative spirituality. She guessed her mindphase of choice would involve deities of a post-traditional time, maybe a sexual experience with a tall dark stranger. Perhaps, her husband had overdosed, or had left her because of orb addictions. Any story that demonizes the orbs would do at this point, to convince her that purchasing another 'run' would ruin her for an indefinite length of life. But was the woman really a single parent? Why had that speculation come out so surely? Maybe it something to do with losing her child the woman thought and she thought too that the woman she observed was once a child who looked to other women as a single parent.
This is one sign of the withdrawals. The unusual roundabout of thoughts, the swirl of the black liquid before her like a blackhole sucking her into derailed thinking. The sun setting without her obvious knowledge.
The child and the woman and other parents were long gone, paint dried and left to hang in unseen bedrooms. The cafe was closing up and garbage men had come in, two of them, hot and perspiring from active orbs. She saw it in their eyes, that shine, that obsession. Perhaps, when she realized they were orb'd, she had envied them and the look she gave was invitational enough.
Time bends when you're on the orb.
In the end, they thoughtfully believed she was part of the mindphase, a glitched but bonus fantasy. She had asked them to feed her the red ones, yes, the hot ones. Their teeth shone with dirt, their garbage stench was part of the enactment, the fantasy.
Watery soap slowly ran from the cafe kitchen, past the tables topped with inverted chairs and through the glass doors down the stairs. Paint was on her naked body and the men relished the art of pain. Her clothes were not very badly torn and she wasn't completely clouded. It was the slipperiness of the cold floors that was most beautiful to her, the wet tiles, the soft blood of red orbs running down her thighs. One of the men was scratched but he didn't mind.
The sun hid for along time and the store that sold orbs didn't quite need to stay open too late for the best sale had long ago happened.
There was no third day for Ms p. Nothing to consider about the orbs. Nothing to decide on.