The rubber ball hit the wall with a small pop and rebounded back to Alan’s outstretched hand. Alan was sat in the middle of his bed, resting his back against the wall. The covers were messily thrown together, and the sheets were disturbed from Alan’s movement. The space was narrow in his bedroom, a long, thin place with a window looking out to the adjacent building.
The robin’s-egg colored walls were lit from the bright summer sun that somehow shone through the alleyway outside the window. Cramped into the bedroom was Alan’s bed, clean yet ever-unmade, a writing desk upon which sat his laptop and printer, and one shoddily constructed IKEA chest of drawers.
Alan had been cooped up in this room for hours, trying to get some idea, any idea, of what he wanted to write. He had produced so far a few pages of scrap, hastily removed and thrown aside. Alan was growing tired of inactivity, and wanted to do some writing.
I’m not getting anywhere with any of this, thought Alan to himself, I have nothing. I don’t even have an idea worth writing about. What am I supposed to do? The rubber ball hit the wall again. Do I want to write this story? Do I want this to be just some other hero’s journey? He sighed, and contemplated the rubber ball in front of him. He glanced at his desk drawer, frowned.
He got off the bed and sat down in front of his open computer. He started typing into a new document, hopelessly trying to put words on paper.
After some minutes, he threw the rubber ball at the ceiling, causing it to bounce wildly around the room for a minute. “I’ve got no fucking voice! Why can’t I learn to write like me!?” Alan exclaimed aloud. Hanging his head in his hands, Alan sighed deeply and found himself thinking about the previous night, the way Scarlett looked, the way Alice’s earrings glinted when she threw her head back to laugh… and he knew what had made him see everything that way.
Though he didn’t want to admit it, the drugs made him feel more vivid, more alive in himself.
Yanking at his desk drawer, he grabbed the needle and bundle that he’d bought from Alice the night prior.
He headed to the kitchen; fetched a spoon, a lighter.
Back in his bedroom, Alan dropped some of the brown powder into the spoon, dripped some of the water from his bottle into it. Igniting the lighter underneath it, Alan dissolved the powder completely and pulled it into the syringe.
He tied his arm off with the bit of surgical tubing that Alice had also given him, clutching the rubber ball as he did so.
Finding the vein that he had used the last time, Alan lined up the needle.