“As a child Sebastian Briglia wanted to be American, and luckily for him at the time, so did his parents. They emigrated from Bulgaria in 1991, not long after the fall of communism. As an adult, he wanted to be Bulgarian again, mostly because of his mounting legal troubles in America, though unfortunately for him at the time he was estranged from his parents and Bulgaria as he remembered it did not exist anymore. Later he began to suspect that Bulgaria as he remembered it never existed.
He has attempted to reach a balance between what he thinks he wants and what he thinks he needs by exploring spirituality and materialism both on and off drugs and new wave music, in urban as well as rural environments. All of this, of course, has been to no avail.”
New Wave and the Art of Heroin Maintenance I: http://amzn.to/Os0V9g
New Wave and the Art of Heroin Maintenance II: http://amzn.to/WFqh3d
A video of me reading a passage of “New Wave and the Art of… I” to clips from a heroin documentary and shots of surreal sculptures: http://youtu.be/aBx9ug7QSUA
Raven in the Motel Room
From “New Wave and the Art of Heroin Maintenance I”
by Sebastian Briglia
Right around that time, in Canada, Raven and I started to get a little more energy as the main part of the heroin withdrawal was easing up. It was awkward because without drugs it would turn kinky really quickly, before even any physical contact with each other. We desperately turned to our imaginations and our own organs for that fix. We treated each other like 900 numbers, like sex workers, like peep show strippers.
“You don’t even know what kind of… trouble’s coming your way…” Talking dirty was hard sober.
“So fuck me then” her hand was already digging into her unzipped
jeans, pushing her panties down and exposing the pubic strip she had just trimmed in the bathroom, her hand trembling as if she were shaking the bubbles in a syringe to the top. Her other hand was already under her black t-shirt, thumb and forefinger squeezing something pink and hard and eager. “Take off your pants!”
Junkie malnourishment made my emaciated belly muscles look like a six-pack, since I still had no belly fat. Below my belly button I had shaved just the way she liked it. A lot of preparation had gone into this… When I looked at her again her long naked legs were spread wide and she was foaming under her finger in the middle.
Her half-bare torso was hunched forward on the unmade bed, pushing her palm-sized breasts together, moisture from her pores pooling in the middle. Tiny pink towers protruded out of them, stopping her shirt from getting past her chest. Her cheekbones were red under her wide-open green eyes and sweat made her chin glisten. Her hair was already a mess.
“I’m going to start with that wet mess and then bend you over…” I started saying as I was engaged in my own energy-absorbing activity.
“You better shut up and get the fuck in here now…” she hissed through her teeth as she panted. “I like it hard…” she started to say as I entered her but was interrupted by her own gasp as she broke into a new wave of sweat and started to shake. “Fuck, I’m cumming,” she said with shocking loudness at the last word, then added a short yell as she wiggled me out of her. I straddled her breasts urgently. “Kiss it,” I said quietly, careful to avoid extra straining. She did, then gagged as I grunted. She did not expect it so soon. When we were high this kind of thing would take hours, we would leave the room for refreshments, take breaks for another fix, and sometimes not even finish, shaking dehydrated with no concept of time. Now we were suddenly awkward as she was wiping the white from the corners of her mouth. I quickly dismounted her chest and returned with a towel, making no eye contact. We were alone with our own sorry excuses for what had to take the place of a hit…
Since we had to watch our money we decided to hang out in the cheap part of town. Many of the ghetto dwellers in Toronto seemed to be from India. Though I don’t usually think of Indians as beef eaters really cheap hamburgers were available, and I had one in a ghetto cafeteria. It was gamey and had a consistency closer to oil than meat. Like a jail burger.
My first time in a county jail had been just before coming to Canada. It all started with me being called to the manager’s office at the insurance company where I worked. I had no explanation for the missing money. I’ll get it back, I said, of course. My manager, an assertive Irish woman with a cloud of curly hair told me not to go anywhere. I waited until the police came, not allowing myself to picture too much of what was coming my way for sure.
They searched my bag and found my spoon, my syringe and a prescription pill bottle that didn’t have my name on it. It was for Subutex, my little white detox friend. I was trying to quit at the time. They took me away in handcuffs in front of all my co-workers. Raven didn’t show up in time with the bail so I went to county jail. For two days. Then my dad brought it, Raven had given it to him. She had to go to work, she said.
When I came back from lock up I was stressing enough to make moves and leave the U.S. immediately. Now that we were in Canada my attitude had switched completely. I had convinced myself that this was peanuts, that the charges were nothing, really. Subconsciously, however, I knew this wasn’t over.
Looking around at the miserable ones on the street, many of whom had reached a ripe old age I realized that trickling down to a place of no escape could take a lifetime. An eternity. I guess you can say the rock bottom was calling me. Maybe I was the rock bottom though, looking at everything else in between. To be honest, that suffering seemed glorious to me.
I had been talking about Vancouver—weed was kind of legal and it seemed like an artist’s Mecca in what I had seen online. Weed, of course, wasn’t a drug to us at the time. We thought it would fill the void that alcohol didn’t. Besides, Raven had relatives there. We would try to get settled on our own of course, that was the plan. Plan A anyway.
At an Internet café in downtown Toronto I looked for jobs in Vancouver. I was energized. I was making moves to start my new sober life. I had been a journalist before—I was about to be a journalist again, this time giving it a hundred percent, like an adult. Cannabis Culture Magazine was hiring an editorial assistant to help with layout. Sure, technically I was going backwards career-wise, but I had been doing that for five years by that point. Now I had a goal, a glimmer of light in the darkness. So it was decided—we were going to Vancouver. I was going to start my clean life in a marijuana magazine.