Jeremy stood facing the chalkboard, so close to it that some of his spiky blonde hair pressed against it. He had a rubber band wrapped tightly around his left bicep; it pressed deep into his skin. He rolled up the left sleeve of his black hoodie and felt around for one of his remaining good veins. He stabbed a syringe in his arm and a geyser of blood shot into the chamber. Jeremy closed his eyes and sighed. No more dope sickness for today, or at least the next 8 hours. He discreetly put his paraphernalia in his hoodie pocket, then turned around and faced the class.
“Today we will be learning about Vietnam. Vietnam is in a jungle with rice,” Jeremy said. “The people who live there are all near-sighted, which is why they are always squinting.” He began slowly swaying back and forth and mumbled, “Vietcong gang-bang,” then collapsed. He smacked loudly into the ground and began foaming at the mouth. His 6th grade class screamed in terror and children began crying as he convulsed and emitted horrifying chokes and grunts. They had no idea that all one has to do to prevent a heroin overdose is throw cold water on the addict.
As the paramedics walked in, Jeremy looked down and saw his lifeless body on the floor. He felt peace, despite the chaotic scene, and smiled as he floated through the ceiling and up towards the clouds. “I must be really high,” Jeremy thought. He watched an ambulance race away from the school. Then he turned away from Earth and looked up.
One time when Jeremy was in Detroit, he gave a homeless man his last cigarette, so he went straight to heaven. He floated up through the clouds and stopped when his feet were on them. He instinctively walked towards a man standing at a wooden podium the way someone checking reservations for a restaurant would. St. Peter pointed at him and shook his head disapprovingly at Jeremy as he walked through the Pearly Gates. “You set a terrible example for those children,” St. Peter yelled from behind. “Now they’ll think it’s not safe to get high.”
Jeremy ignored him. He was used to squares telling him how to party. He walked across the clouds and high-fived Black Jesus on his way into God’s office for orientation. “Jeremy. Your life was worthless. I’m glad you can’t make your students stupid anymore.” God was a penguin wearing a tuxedo with a huge, purple, slimy bird boner that nearly stabbed whoever was getting the orientation in the face. He leaned back in his spinney chair, puffing his E-cigarette and blowing the cherry-flavored smoke in Jeremy’s face. “Well, you can ask me two questions before you enter eternal bliss. What would you like to know?”
“Is there heroin in heaven?” Jeremy asked.
“Then can I go back to Earth? I want more heroin.”
God put his flipper over his face. “Really? Are you really going to do this right now?”
“I just want one more hit. After that I’m done for good,” Jeremy said with his fingers crossed.
“I can see that!” God cried, pointing his flipper at Jeremy’s crossed fingers in his lap. “Heroin literally JUST killed you. I would think you would have learned something. Something along the lines of, ‘Heroin is bad and I shouldn’t do it.’”
“Your four right angles are showing. I thought you would be cool, God.”
“I am cool. I’m the one who created cool.”
“No, it’s fine. Don’t send me back to Earth to right my wrongs and learn the meaning of true love.” Jeremy coolly examined his fingernails, which were extremely dirty.
“Fuck you!” God thundered. “Don’t tell me what to do!” God snapped his flipper and sent Jeremy’s soul back to Earth.
Jeremy slowly opened his eyes, which were assaulted by a ray of sunlight coming through a crack. He pushed himself up with a start and smashed his skull against some kind of roof. He pushed on it and it lifted away. He looked down and realized he was in a dumpster, surrounded by and covered in used bandages, needles, and bags of human waste.
Having had his corpse thrown in the dumpster did not surprise Jeremy. Many an ex-girlfriend had told him that he was trash. A man with such lofty goals as Jeremy can’t be bothered to dwell on such trivialities. He climbed out of the dumpster, and felt a cool breeze tickle his butt cheeks. He was still wearing his hospital gown! Jeremy’s mouth began watering as visions of Dilaudid, OxyContin, morphine and Fentanyl danced through his head.
Jeremy sprinted to the front entrance of the hospital, rivers of saliva flowing down his chin. An addict in a hospital is like a kid in a candy store, except candy doesn’t even get you high, so fuck that shit. He approached the front desk, his ass exposed and his hospital gown covered in blood. Seven used needles poked out of his arms, legs, and neck.
“Excuse me,” Jeremy said to the elderly female receptionist, whose skin had the texture of a raisin. “I’m a patient here, I got lost and wandered into the dumpster. Can I go back to my bed? My name is Jeremy Cuck.”
The old woman looked up at him, shaking violently due to her Parkinson’s disease. She stared at him while shaking for about a minute, then shouted, “What?”
“Can I go back in? My name is JER-EM-Y CUCK.” He said loudly. The old lady tapped some keys with her trembling hands, then hit backspace several times, then repeated the process several times.
“It says here you’re dead, young man. This hospital is for the living. If you want, I can give you directions to the cemetery and a plastic spoon from the cafeteria to dig your grave with,” she generously offered.
“I’m not dead!” Jeremy said, grabbing fistfuls of the untidy blonde hair on his head. “Let me back in my bed!”
“I shan’t, I can’t, it’s impossible. I can’t admit a dead patient back into the hospital.” Jeremy’s face turned red with frustration. “The first stage of grief is denial,” she pointed out. “You need to face the truth head on and come to terms with your death.”
“You’re a lot closer to death than I am,” Jeremy shot back. “I’m in a lot of pain right now. I need OxyContin, STAT. Tell them they can inject it anywhere they want.”
The old woman stood up and pointed a shaking finger at Jeremy (and also pretty much everywhere else in the room). “Now listen here, you insolent zombie. I understand that you’re grieving over your loss and that you’re taking out your anger on me. But I must insist that you leave, or I’m calling security.”
“Not gonna happen. Not happening. I need pain pills. Every part of my body hurts. I’m in more pain than any human being has ever been in, so much pain that it’s a medical anomaly and inexplicable by human science,” Jeremy said stubbornly. “Please make an exception.” At this point two large security guards arrived and each picked Jeremy up by an arm. They dragged him out the doors and tossed him onto the curb.
Posted in: Shortened Stories