What is there to know about me? I'm a drug addict. I've been clean for the past two months. I've put my freelancer work aside for a while –and no, this is not a clever euphemism for escorting; if I had the body of an escort, I would be that kind of freelancer- to start a new job as a game tester for a famous company that sees colourful hedgehogs when it's high on ecstasy.
What is my life like? I am working the twelve steps with my wonderful sponsor, going to Narcotics Anonymous meetings to stay clean, I found a new job –as stated above-, I even found a second one in the same field that I might do part-time. For the first time in my life, I am feeling like I like myself. Hell, I'd do me if I met me on the streets. I made better truer friends in the rooms of NA than I ever did in my whole life. I know I have a family there that I can count on and that can count on me, day or night, rain or shine, crave or cry.
Using drugs is not on my mind at the moment, life is. This is the only and best high I ever had -a natural one.
This job, however amazing it is, is getting the better of me. What you have to know is that even if I'm shy and socially awkward and my face gets all olive factory in Andalucía when I eat any meal outside my home, I am nowhere near as socially inadequate as the people there. My team talks to me for work. My boss tells me what to do. Apart from that, if I sit in front of someone in the kitchen, this someone will go sit somewhere else. My team leader and all my higher ups spend their breaks playing a football videogame next to the kitchen area. They don't eat, they don't drink. I think they are all on drugs. The thing with what I just said is that when you get clean, you think everybody is an addict. Which is so true. Everybody is, one way or another; yet they are not necessarily all meth-injecting junkies like I was. But that's not the point.
The point is that new job. It's either the best thing that ever happened to me or the worst. Entering recovery, I struggled to find a completely different occupation and not work from home anymore doing technical translation. I did just that. I now make minimum wage basically checking other translators' work while playing the game but I'm not allowed to rewrite their work when it's crap. But I'm fine with it. Ish. Since I'm eying the localization team where I could thrive as an internal translator. That would truly be the best of both worlds.
That brings us to the fated Tuesday 27 may, 2013. I was back from a long weekend and ready to get down and dirty, more than willing to make a connection. Even with the meth-head on the other team. Yes, you heard right. This one is an addict. He has bags like a panda around his eyes, he is scratching himself all the time, he is completely restless and he came out of the bathroom on my first day and it didn't smell like dead rat in the toilet. Oh, and there was a bag of meth on the toilet brush. Of course, the recovering addict had to flush it like a maniac for of course, if my boss had entered the booth after me, he would have accused the druggie with a sixty-days clean key ring on his keys. Same happened the day after but with weed. Seeing that my team lead has the same glossy apathetic eyes, I think he would actually not mind. Still, this whole situation angers me. Those people anger me. This crazy hot room angers me. At the end of the day, I've slaved for people who are too high to give a shit, that can't cover their tracks and that don't care that they are not.
I hate this unwashed, ungroomed man with longer hair than those manga characters I love so much –and that turned out to be an ungroomed, unwashed girl with actual boobs, not man-boobs. I hate that really hot geek with red long hair, a big bushy goatee and a twinky body that's always following me wherever I go like his life depends on him. I hate the Spanish newbie that started the same day I did and that went through the whole damn game in a day and a half and unlocked every single item where I struggled to pass the first stage. The geek in me wept in despair. But that's ok, I'm a smarter dresser. Still, I'd do him. Hell, I'd do the meth-head if that brought any emotion in his sad glossy dead eyes.
I wandered again but here we go. When I badged in, something changed. I had like a chill and that's when it went downhill. I thought I would have seen that giant statue of a blue hedgehog on speed move, talk or blink at me. All the computers could have shut down or gone to sizzle. Nope. I just had a chill. And then I couldn't shut up.
"God, that smells like geek in here!"
One of those clever snappy comments I would think of and that I have to work on in my recovery. I have a lot of anger and hate inside me. It gets directed to the people around me, strangers or not, when it is most of the time actually directed at me.
But hey, it's just in my head it and I know it's wrong. I mean no harm. It's just overwhelming. It helps me cope. Sometime, it makes me laugh when it is so disproportionate. Again, it's in my demented head, I have control over it and I'll never blurt out something so rude to people I fail to connect with. Nobody is going to turn his head and give me a dirty look.
I did get that dirty look and I got it from a lot of persons. Was my face telling what my mouth was not?
"What's wrong, freaks? You done touching yourself looking as 2D girls on and you finally give a shit about me?
That's when it hit me. And believe me, a slap in the face with a shovel –twice- would have hurt less. In a novel, what I just said would have been in italics to show it was thought of but remained unspoken. Unfortunately, in real life, the letters were straight up, not bending over like a bottom waiting for a cock up his arse.
I had spoken. And that was only the beginning.
"Sorry, I forgot to diss on the gay geeks. Like you, with the designer gay jeans and the pointy entrepreneurial shoes. Plan on foot-fucking some muscle merry tonight? 'Cause, you know, the only entrepreneurial drive you'll ever have is to start a body-selling business to get more crack. Oh, and you, Tina boy. I've met corpses with more facial expression. For the very few of you that are not high, Tina is crystal meth. Breaking bad glamorized it but it's actually really bad. It takes nice hot men like this one and gives us back lumps of flesh frantically moving around with messed up teeth and aching bodies and souls. I know. I was one of them two months ago."
This was worse than in those movies where you can only tell the truth. I had to say everything that came into my head. Absofuckinglutely everything. Well, everything bad. Even when I put my hands in front of my mouth, I kept talking loud and clear. I even bit my money-makers when they got in the way of my verbal diarrhoea.
Fortunately for me, what saved me at the time was the desperate look on my face. One that said: "Please shoot me." So they understood that what had befallen upon me was out of control. That's when my team lead approached me.
"Ah, here's worst Italian accent ever that can't conceive I'm French with a Spanish name testing French videogames. I would probably have done much better in my first few weeks if I had understood half of what you said when you kinda trained me."
"I think we all see that you are not well and you can't control what you're saying somehow. Did you mess up your medication? Are you high? Or drunk?"
"I'm not on any medication, Mr I put a picture of myself from ten years ago on Outlook to make myself look better. Have you ever stopped dating your PS3 like once in your life to watch one of those movies where people can't lie? Well, I'm similar to that. It started when I flashed my badge and got in."
So would that mean that… I ran at the door, used my badge as if to get out and crossed the demonic threshold.
"Nope, you're still cunts."
I then badged in, out, in again… It was like having sex and getting in and out all the time to last longer. Except here, it was not enjoyable. But it did make the moment last longer. The moment when you go from pathetic to downright ridicule. Epic fail.
At break time, I ran to the toilet, crying. It was just too much. I cried silent tears in a booth. Fifteen minutes later, I made my way out because I had been a bad enough human being today. I was not going to add too long a break to that pile of shit I had dragged to work on a gilded platter.
I went to wash my hands and, as I was struggling to rinse with that stupid faucet which was far too close from the edge of the bowl, I saw it. A half-finished joint.
"You gotta be fucking kidding me."
Magic spell on me or not, this one speech I was going to mean. Every single word. I stormed back in and climbed on a desk.
"Attention, bitches. You've all witnessed what's happening to me and how I can't refrain from saying all those mean to you sorry lot. But what's to follow I truly mean. So listen and listen well. Do you see that? It is a joint. I found it on the sink in the toilets. It belongs to one of you, that's for sure. I don't give a fuck who was reckless enough to leave proof of his drug use on camera -'cause yes, I'm 99 % sure there are cameras in the toilets- but I do not care for it one bit. It's the third time in three weeks of work. First, it was crystal meth then weed then a doobie. What is wrong with you guys? At least, cover your tracks properly. God, I used for one and a half month and I was better at it than all of you combined. But what you do when you leave proof of your drug use in the toilet forces me, a recovering addict, to hide your tracks when I go number 2. 'Cause what happens when the guy with sixty days of clean time comes out of the bathroom, and his team lead goes after him and sees crystal meth on the toilet brush? He thinks the person responsible is probably the only clean person in that god-forsaken office. And who will lose his job? Me. And who will keep his job till he drops dead? Mr. Lazy Face. So my thought for the day is that it is ok to be a functioning drug user. Or a raging one for all I care -or don't care. But don't make my recovery harder 'cause I will make your life fucking miserable. I am not a functioning addict. I am an addict. I'm co-dependant. I'm an overeater. I'm borderline OCD. I… I…"
At that time tears had started to run down.
"Every single area of my life is crippled with addiction. Hell, I'm even an addict when I play videogames for nights on end without showering, eating or sleeping. At least you might relate to that if you're delusional enough not to identify with the rest of what I've just said. If that ever happens again, I'll call the cops on that company. That said, I don't hold -too much- of a grudge. Let me do my job. Be social with me, if not friendly. And if you need help, come talk to me. I'm not a monster, just a little bit of a cunt. But a willing cunt. A willing, open-minded and honest cunt."
I took a small breather and then started again.
"I wish I could say I'm sorry but I fucking can't. And back to the crap. You, germ factory, please wash you hands when you go take a dump. And never touch me or another human being again."
Then, the Italian girl from my team arrived with the mobiles we were testing the games on.
"Ah, lesbian redhead. It's always funny when a redhead actually has red liquorice air. And trashy piercings. And mosquito bites. I wonder what colour they originally were. I'll call you Fifty Shades of Whore Red Cheap Paint from now on. Thanks for the crappy mobile. I hate Androids. And there's no reason but I can't stand you. Maybe it is the 'I know Japanese so I'll send e-mails to my friends in the team and CC the whole team to show I'm better than you'. Well, guess what? I speak Japanese, too. I just don't brag about it!"
"Ah Spanish dude gracing us with his presence. Do you ever eat? And what's with the white streak of hair? Bad pregnancy scare? Was she like freak-show ugly? And what about respecting the rules and leave your phone in the locker and only use it at break time and not have enough time to pee 'cause you have too much e-mails to answer like I do? And please don't call your Spanish whore in the office. I don't care to know that you're gonna eat her pussy and make her squirt after work. I really don't. But I'd eat your pussy anytime."
Meet the other member of my team.
Then, I pointed to a guy in the distance.
"Yes, you. Stop grooming yourself on the door of the subway. You're too skinny for skinny jeans and you have more adult acne than I do. Which is like impressive, in a pus-filled zits kind of way And the moustache, really? Wait till you hit puberty, will you? Of course, lazy eyes won't react to anything, he's too busy free-basing crack or whatever he's on."
Then, I started working on the game and gave it my all so I didn't have to talk to anybody. At dinner break, I moved away from the desk and bumped into him.
"What? What do you want? Talk. Talk! What do you follow me around for? Does it get your freaks on? "
I put my fingers on his lips and started to make them move as if he had the gift of speech.
"I am not socially inadequate, I am socially inept. Too bad 'cause I am fucking hot. I'd rape that ass of yours any day."
Oh dear Lord. Or God as I understand it in my case. Please grant me the serenity to shut my cock hole.
"Go to your desk. And stay there. Naked."
And then I send him away with a spank on the ass. Somebody punch me, I can't stop. It feels like I'm high but I'm not. What the hell is so fundamentally wrong about me that I got punished in such a way? Anyway, it all happens for a reason. Bullshit. Let's go eat and make more people kill themselves with their Ethernet cable. So I went to the kitchen and sat in front of a special someone.
"Again, really? You think that's good manners to change tables when I sit in front of you? Never occurred to you that maybe I was trying to make a connection with you? You have home-cooked food. So do I. We might have talked about that. But seeing how you wonderfully behave, I guess Mommy cooked that after she burped you and tucked you into bed? You're what? Roughly my age? How many fingers do you need to count the chicks you've nailed? Yes, your cousin doesn't count. And guess what? It's me that's moving tables."
It so appears he was going for the salt. Ok, I give up. I'm not fighting it anymore. Universe wants me to play the sheriff, I'll play the sheriff. I ate quietly, made some tea to make me more on edge and then headed back to my desk. On my way, I heard my bestie the German girl talking to her team lead as if he was a dog that had just crapped on the carpet.
"You, German girl that is always complaining and talking down to your team lead, be your usual constipated 3rd Reich cunt and talk me down."
That's when she burst into loud sobs and ran into the front door. I went after) her and badged the door, painfully explaining to her how to use said door, making a few people laugh. Once outside and out of sight, I held her arm and pushed her against me to give her a hug.
"Don't worry, I'm like super gay. That's what we do in Narcotics Anonymous, bitch. I cannot shut up and will probably call you a Nazi ho at some point and I can't stop dissing you and that's killing me. I might be better in a couple of hours but I might stay like that forever. I'm going through hell right now and that started today when I crossed the threshold to that hell hole. You hate me, right?"
She sobbed a "yes".
"You know what? I hate you too. Each day, I tell myself 'Won't she shut the fuck up? Can somebody put a dick in that mouth 'cause I'm pretty sure we cannot take the broomstick up her ass that's not giving any pleasure to that frigid..."
First slap of the day.
"God, thank you! Way to refocus the conversation. And what will I say next, you might fear? Well, I'm gonna say I like you, feisty, German ho. I do think you need to get laid by three monster black cock... Thanks for the second slap, but you smiled so I think you do want sausage on your seafood plate."
She let out a discreet laugh.
"You're much less ugly when you smile. And you know, I like that you talk back 'cause I hate your team lead and his lazy condescending I-know-better-than-you voice. I'm sure he's bold under his bandana. Again, I don't hate you. I like you. You're downright rude sometimes and I'm jealous. I'd like to be more like you and talk some people down."
She gave me a "Bitch, please" look.
"Yes, it's true I've made the day of half the shrinks in London today. But I mean, I wish that if that ordeal ever stops, I can keep a little of that feistiness I admire in you. And maybe get to know the girl behind the frigid sexually frustrated shrew."
Third slap. But she did not mean that one. It was more like a pat on the cheek, like she came to terms with that 24-hour cunt bug I was suffering from. I gave her a second hug and escorted her back inside with a big smile on her face. But not yet on mine.
And then it started shifting. If life throws lemons in your face, throw some back to that cunt's face and then make bloody lemonade with what's left. The throwing part done, I could start on the squeezing. On each and every person I had offended. And not actual squeezing, of course. But maybe some spanking, especially on my stalker's ass. With a whip. Repeatedly. All night long.
To put it in a nutshell, this was to be like a giant step 9 with a cunty mouth. For those unfamiliar with the 12-step program, step 8 is making a list of persons you have harmed while using and becoming willing to make amends to them all. Step 9 is making direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. Obviously, there was no using involved with those people. On my part, at least.
So, first one: my work husband. Or work psycho. Or both.
"You dirty bitch. You actually took off your pants. Nice one. But I'm not a gherkin kind of guy. Size does matter. Hygiene too. Just because it looks like a cocktail sausage doesn't mean it has to smell like one. Damn it, I'm trying to turn this thing around and I keep insulting you. What I'm trying to say is that you seem like a decent guy. You have trouble speaking to people, so do I. But I'd really like to get to know you. Maybe have wild steamy sex with you too. But now I can differentiate friendship, love and sexual attraction. But it doesn't mean they cannot mix a little. I'm Miguel by the way. Nice to meet you."
"Jordan. Same, mate. I like you. Sorry I was a creep."
We shook on it and I left.
"Really gay guy. I'll try to apologize in the name of the fashion world that really wronged you. It's like the gay rainbow flag exploded on you and came at the same time. Speaking of cum, you have some on the corner of your lips. Ah! Made you check. But it is actually there. On the right. The other right. Uh, quite some work there. And you program videogames? I guess that's why my character in the game can go through walls sometimes. Anyway, I hate to be given moralizing advice, but you're gonna get a few. Baby-size clothes are not for you. They make you skinnier. Nothing alive is skinnier than you. But mummies are. Beanies are for winter. It's 30°C in here. Take care of yourself. You deserve it. Lay down the drugs a little to gain some appetite back. Show those amazing tattoos a little more and act how you care to act, not because you wanna be liked. It's not a catwalk, it's life. You look good as is. Stop hiding. Be yourself. Not a magazine cover. People in real life should not look photoshopped. I know I sound like your mother but that's because I care. I'm Miguel."
"Andy. Nice to meet you. I'm colour-blind."
"Oh, that explains a lot. I hope we can discuss this further in the future. I have to move on to the next person I've wronged. Are we cool?"
We did a weird fist bumping thing I did not even know I had in me that made quite a few people laugh. Then, he mentioned my zip was open, to which I answered it was broken but I was too poor/cheap to have it fixed. What it had to do with anything, I did not know. But things do happen for a reason. So it might have been a way for me to realize I have to let go a little and take care of me. Or it was just chitchat.
Scanning. Target acquired.
"Home-cooked meal guy. Stop looking around, I'll chase you. You know I will. So... I like the hair. I don't like the clothes. Apparently, you were just reaching for the salt this time. But what the heck was last time? It was my first day. Way to make me feel at home. I just assume we might make a connection through food and then on a personal level. An ice-breaking of sorts. But that was more of a ship-wreck. Oh, don't put your hands on your monster wiener. I'm not gonna rape you. Yet."
He started sweating.
"Chill, man. I was joking. Not my fault you wear linen trousers and no underwear. Anyway, I hope next time we can chat. I have a killer recipe for instant ramen."
"I love ramen! Especially the fried pork one! What spices do you put in?"
I showed him two thumbs up and then used one of them to point at the next one on my list.
"I promise we'll discuss it soon but I gotta make amends to you all. Wanna split dinner tomorrow?"
"That's a date…"
"Bring the good stuff, Rob, and I might put out. Ok, next. Chief. Or should I say social climber. The king is dead, long live the king right? Well, I hope he is not dead. Or really sick. 'Cause he looked like a day-walker. Anyway, even if you're playing the cool guy when you can't even pronounce 'castle' right, I must admit I don't dislike working with you. I wish you would not only talk casually to Italian people and took an interest in people from other countries. But that'll come. Also, you and Mr. Lazy Face should do something about your drug intake. I was like you just two months ago and it was not pretty. The bags under your eyes will soon catch up with your nostrils. There's a wonderful thing called Narcotics Anonymous. You don't have to stop using to come to a meeting, just have an open mind and come listen to our stories. It might not be today or next week or next month. But try to not overdose before you decide to turn your life around. And Chief, I lost a ton of weight when I stopped stress-eating."
If I still had a job at the end of the day, I would sympathy fuck someone ugly to thank the Universe. But we would think about that after I had eaten. I was starving and parched. And I could really use a drink right now. Oops. Old habits.
So after I gulped down my meal and peach squash, I started again. The final few.
"Unsanitary man. Please do something about it. Not for the others, for you. Good hygiene starts with oneself. I'll be glad to shake on it after you dip your hands in bleach. Pre-pubescent guy. Shave the peach fuzz. Go to a dermatologist. You need a treatment like I do. You'll see, you'll feel great when your skin clears up. Mine won't 'cause I'm too stressed out by this job and my staying clean. But I'm sure you will. Spanish guy. Despite the fact that you're always late, you break all the rules, you can't find your test cases and you're a bit of a dumbfuck, I think I envy you. I need a little more carelessness. I need to let go and I can't. I always have to be in control. I also love that you have such an honest sex-fuelled relationship. I want that for myself when I am more secure in my recovery and I learn to love myself for who I am, not who I want to be. And you're damn easy on the eye, gurl. Hell, I'd take all of you Spanish cunts here and have a giant gang-gang in the meeting-room any day."
I drank a little water and tried to catch my breath. I also let the shame sink in because even if I was pouring my heart out in a good way this time, I was still also talking out of my ass at some really embarrassing moments.
"I guess that leaves Readhead carpet muncher. There is no particular reason you are last. Or maybe there is. Maybe I envy the bold look, the hair colour and the fact that you don't have to flaunt your lifestyle to define yourself. You don't have to tell everybody what you do or update your website in front of your co-workers so they notice you. You just speak Japanese with other people that speak it. Just because you feel like it. Not to sound more interesting. And that's what makes you sound interesting to me. And a little jealous, but I'm working on that."
I then went back to my work, defeated the final boss for the hundredth time after fifty tries. Something was still missing though. I couldn't put my finger on it. Ten minutes before the end of the late shift, it hit me. I couldn't put my finger on it because it was too big to do so. I climbed on a desk again. Some people sighed heavily.
"I hate it more than you do, cunts. Hopefully, tomorrow, I'll be cured. Or it'll be worse and I'll start putting trash bags on your heads and smacking you around. I remember saying you smelled like geeks and then insulting Germans, Italians, Spaniards, lesbians and gays. If it wasn't obvious, I like Cher and Lady Gaga and I cry in front of Glee. So no reason here to spit on gays apart from spitting on myself for not being who I wanna be. And I bow down to people who can survive only on scissoring. I know I can't live without sausage. But I highly respect any life choice that doesn't involve rape or incest or animals. I love Italians and Spaniards; they act like they have big dicks even though they don't. And Germans… They are crazy in beds. In a good way. I'm not going where I want to with that but you know I can't say the words I mean. I guess that's a good thing because in recovery, we learn that saying those three words we say a thousand times a day when we step on someone's toes or we want somebody to clear the way don't mean anything anymore. Maybe that's what the Power that Be wanted to teach me today, that I have to find another way to make amends to people. I tried my best after I heartily spat on you and I hope you can find it in your heart to keep working with me. I'll try my best and I'll expect no less from you. That said, somebody come here. I think I stepped on the keyboard and it looks like Sonic is on LSD and raping Tails. Jordan, stop diddling yourself, put some pants on and get your twinky ass over there."
That's what you call end on high note. Without drugs. The guy in charge of equipment yelled "Late shift, you can go!" I headed to the front of the building and sat on the steps for a few minutes to cool my head. I brought my legs to my torso, closed my eyes and tried meditating. A few minutes in, I felt a hand on my shoulder. A few seconds later, the person was immobilized on the floor. Then, I realized who it was.
"Can I talk to you?"
"Uh, yes… Sure."
"Great. Care to loosen your grip? I can't breathe. And, is that a pen?"
That was not a pen. That's also when it all stopped. And when it all begun.