From what I could remember, I began the night off at 8:30 by waking from a mid-day nap to the smoky ash-filled air of my dilapidated noir motel room. “What a foul stench.” I took notice of the stale air, and for a second that weird smell was the only thing on my mind.

I don’t know why, but it stuck with me most of that very night. Even after my dizzy-daze had worn off. It was the El Pesto Motel, located just off of East Street, somewhere around the corner from the smoke-shop Zachary had dragged me into earlier that same Saturday.

“My head is spinning like a son-of-a-bitch, and I doubt we got any water in that crap-mini fridge,” I thought. I heard running water, and shot up n’ over to the bathroom to find my good buddy passed out on the floor, a bottle of ale in one hand, a box of unlit, unclipped cigars in the other.

“The air is too damn dry in here.” It wasn’t. He was curled up like a dog with his drool hitting the marble floor like a runny sink.

His snoring overpowered the sink as blood rushed to my head and standing became a chore. I kicked him lightly to rustle him from his sleep. He let out a big yelp and quickly turned over.

His jolt, breaking the bottle of ale over the toilet bowl. I stumbled backward out the bathroom door and landed on my ass. “Not all the blow in Jersey could put me in as bad a state as this.”

I felt. As the noise of the bottle smashing erupted in my brain, so did the echoes of voices stumbling around outside door to our room. I hit the ground a few more times before catching my balance and realizing that my wallet was nowhere to be found.

Making my way to the door, I grabbed a few unspecified bills off of the passing nightstand and stumbled out the room in a flash. The walk was a blur of cool air and blinding streetlights, as after dodging traffic for fifteen minutes, I found myself comfortably seated in a crimson-red diner booth. The waitress, a blonde young thing in a mini skirt and shitty leggings, came up to me and asked what I'd like.

Coffee, of course, was my only reply. “Black.” If I could get the black-stuff in my system, maybe it'd free me up from this shit-daze I’d woken to.

I had heard rumors on the Internet, but I didn't truly know the effects of caffeine on a turned-around mind. That is, if it was a hangover, of sorts, that I was even dealing with. “It must have felt great going down, and the few minutes after that. Now I was reaching that addict’s-low my dealers were always talking about.”

There was always the possibility of some pills floating around my system, working their medical pain-killing magic on my rotting guts. I knew Zachary'd be fine, back in the room, and as dull as a raccoon could be, beaten with a stick. This is the kind of thing he's used to.

I, on the other hand, had just begun to make a habit of trailing local nobody-bands and getting shit-faced at their after parties. They were metal bands of all sorts, each one attempting to scream louder than the last. They'd travel the country, living off the stolen funds of their white suburban parents, and fueled by enough alcohol and hooka to put God himself into a coma.

Now hooka doesn’t do much, or at least, that’s what my comrades would have me believe. Personally, I can say that it makes me sick to my stomach and all turned around, especially if I had eaten right before. Unfortunately I was always the unluckiest soul to suck up some of the loose ash-bits from the hose.

It hurt like a motherfucker. Guess I just have a weak throat. And that's how my life was, at least for a time, and how I'd remember it.

“I contemplated blowing my brains out.” I sat in that booth imagining to myself about how one day I'd be telling this story and how one night I’d opened up my eyes to the disdainful beauty of being a trashy-vagabond, and with all the clutter of the past, future and present on my mind, I was finally able to deduce that pills were the culprits of my wavering mind-wandering. “So much on my mind. Or, was it?”

My heart began an unfamiliar flutter as my body temperature rose and sunk with every breath of air I forced down and choked back up. Before the waitress made it back to the table, I booked. I forgotten what I'd had, and I'd hoped Zachary resurfaced his conscious moral-alertness to explain to me what had happened, post catnap.

The walk back to the motel seemed longer and more trivial than my venture to locate the diner. Especially when my eyes came to stare at my feet as if they were stepping through an intangible floor. I rushed home in a mad sprint as the night sky fell apart like raining glass around me.

Rushing in the motel door, which had been left open, I slammed down on the bed as my head began a race of stellar thoughts and assumptions. Slowly heading into an orgasmic seizure on the motel's bed, I cried out for Zachary as the effects of the pills overtook me. My next sight was that of Zachary shoving a needle into my lungs and feeling a cool liquid fill up my chest.

Everything faded to black as I slipped back into a cool tranquil sleep, this time looking up at Zachary looking down at me, and just breaking into his pack of unsmoked cigars from before. When I was ready to get up again, I was looking forward to quite a hangover. I slept a bit before waking up and feeling as if my head weighed a ton.

I scattered for my phone to see if I had any missed calls. I remember feeling this weird rumbling in my stomach as I crawled to the bathroom on all fours. My hand hit this little pile of bottles on the carpet and I steadily remembered them.

These pills… these tablets in this case were given to us by some dealer. It was some new synthetic shit, like pot in a pill form. No smell, no smoke, no nothing.

All you’d need do is swallow and enjoy the effects. I sure as hell wasn’t feeling high and by the second time that rumbling came I was leaning over the toilet, ready to let the plumbing loose. I felt my mouth water and my eyes rolled back as it all came up in a big thick chunk.

I choked at the end and ended up spewing into the water, hearing a great big dunking noise. I didn’t want to look down at the puddled-mess I’d made, but my eyes caught it too quick. That was when I noticed.

In the toilet… there was this bulb-like silver pod with a long tail, like a tadpoles! What the fuck did that dealer sell us!?! The toilet was vomit free, but there sat a pulsing pod of shining grey.

With bumps on its side and a tail that wiggled overtime I let out a horrified scream! I backed up so quickly, and on all fours, that I accidentally slammed the back of my head into the wall. For a few hours I faded in and out of consciousness.

I could've sworn some guys in black came into the apartment and topped the place, way worse than me or Zachary had. When I finally woke up I took a moment or two to relax before peering over into the toilet. The pod was gone and my stomach felt fine.

I ran out to see Zachary on the bed, fast asleep as he’d been most of that experience. I collapsed in a chair in one of the corners of the room. I thought back to the dealer, the pod, the men in black clothing and if all of this was the product of some fucked-up trip.

One thing I had noticed since that day, though, was a strong series of lines on my lower right side of my ribs. Lines, almost like a barcode. I don’t know where they came from and my doctor can’t seem to determine their origin.

Credited to Brian C. Alexander