The repetitive bass pulsated from inside the club. Somewhat muted, it provides a fitting backdrop for the business to come in this back alley I call “The Bazaar.” Very few people enter The Bazaar, as very few know of it. Only one item is peddled here. My item. “Relief”. Before you ask, I’m not selling heroin or meth. Those drugs harm people; they promise euphoria and ultimately deliver pain and suffering. I don’t sell prescription drugs either, those pills destroy more people than illegal substances, believe it or not. No, what I sell can’t be found in a pharmacy or on a street corner. I deal in an absolute. I disburse a release.

You might be questioning why I deal in an alley behind a club if my product is so revolutionary, to which I say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The shadows allow for uninterrupted dealings, and the staff doesn't seem to mind that I'm here. They probably think I'm distributing ecstasy. But I’m not looking to hook anyone or create a dependent consumer base, and what I charge is only enough to recoup my expenses needed to create more Relief. Each client I have is fairly treated and I am in turn equally compensated.

But enough about me, let’s focus on Jeff. Jeff is a lawyer. Not one of those idealized litigators you see on TV who attends one trial a week and then has six days to drink and sleep around. I mean a real lawyer; one who spends twenty hours a day researching case law in a mill to foreclose on someone’s house. A tool to the banks and to his billable hours. Jeff is tired. Jeff is stressed out and demoralized from his job. Jeff needs Relief. He arrives punctually at 9:30 PM, bitching about his boss and his job, explaining about how guilty he feels for forcing debtors out of their homes all day. I feel for him, I really do. He hands me the money and I slip him Relief. Jeff’s despair quickly turns to excitement. He stares at the sky, billions of stars both far away and at his fingertips simultaneously. He jumps for joy, catching imaginary suns, arranging them in funny shapes, laughing to himself. Jeff has completely forgotten about the lives he’s ruined, the homes he’s broken, and the families he’s shattered. Jeff wanders down the alley, away from the noise and the squalor.

After some patient waiting, Joyce arrives at midnight. Joyce is a humanitarian worker. She spends most of her waking hours rebuilding homes and communities down in Tijuana, where poverty and violence have all but decimated the populace. Joyce feels defeated and depressed. Every day she puts all of her effort into fighting the system, only to see little to nothing change. For each house she builds, a cartel burns another one down. Joyce greets me with tears, begging for some Relief. I supply her the necessary dosage and take the small compensation. Almost immediately, Joyce’s tears are gone. She dances and frolics with imaginary children in a field of luxurious flowers. She experiences the depthless cornucopia of wealth and indulges the impoverished families who feast and celebrate through the night. She is no more aware of the crushing tragedy occurring across the border than she is of the homeless man half-dead by the adjacent dumpster. Joyce exits shortly after.

Last is Terry who shows up at 5 AM. Poor Terry. Terry is a unique fellow, transgendered, as they call it these days. Terry is a good person, but Terry’s family is very religious. There is no room for someone of Terry’s disposition in God’s house. So Terry now lives alone, trying to make sense of the world and where Terry might fit in. Such an existential crisis is hard for Terry. The cuts on Terry’s wrists aren’t enough to provide relief. But I can. Terry gobbles down the serving with reckless abandon. Terry doesn’t dance as Joyce did, or grope at the air as Jeff did. Terry just sits, surrounded by all the loved ones and friends who previously didn’t understand Terry’s situation. Life is simple and good, finally, for a misunderstood individual. Terry cries a little bit, then wanders off down the alleyway. My night’s work now finished, I return home and turn on the morning news.

Shock and horror today as three individuals were found dead of an apparent overdose in a back alley on Fourth Avenue. Each had traces of a powerful but unidentified designer drug in their bodies that ultimately stopped their hearts. Police have been trying to form connections between the persons, but they all come from different walks of life and no traces of the dealer can be found. The Sheriff has announced a joint investigation with the DEA to find the culprit as soon as possible.

I’m not a chemist. I’m not a pusher. Hell, I’m not even human.

Relief by Abysmii

Relief by Abysmii

Written by Abysmii
Content is available under CC BY-SA