Bonzo had gone all intervention on me that night. He invited himself into my and Jimmy's hotel room with a six pack of beer and an air about him that told me I'd be having fun tonight if I liked it or not.
The customary sound of cans cracking open signified the beginning of our night, and we both took our first drinks. I was still smoking more often than not. It seemed like the whole night I had one of the damn things in my hand, and we had to open the balcony door because the smell of smoke was getting pretty bad.
We were in the living-room type part of the hotel room. It was a whole fuck of a lot nicer than the hotels we used to get back when we just started travelling to gigs. Those ones were usually two-room nameless doghouses. This one was actually verging on relaxing.
We had the lights down low, the muted television flashing light over the room. I was on the couch, Bonzo on the armchair across from me.
"Jesus, Percy, you look like a fucking crack-head," Bonzo snorted, startling me out of my thoughts.
"Excuse me?" I blurted without thinking.
"You're staring like a weirdo and you're about to fall off the fucking couch," he said, motioning to me with his beer hand. "I'd offer you a smoke, but the way you've been sucking them back another one would probably turn you into a pile of fucking ashes."
" I tried to sit back and relax, but it didn't really work. I felt edgy. Jumpy, even. I couldn't forget what had happened. Jimmy's eyes were violating my mind. The image of his dark hair sprawled over the bathroom stuck to me like a leech. The desperation as he looked at me and told me he was sorry replayed over and over. It wasn't going to go away, no matter how much I drank or smoked.
Bonzo knew something was nagging at me. He had no idea.
He was still watching me, looking as concerned as he could. Of course he was worried, though. We'd been friends for a long time.
I took another sip of beer and put it down. It left only a sour taste in my mouth and a lump in my throat.
"Bonzo," I said, not particularly having anything to say. It was just too quiet.
I looked up and wondered if I'd say what I was thinking.
"What?" he ushered me on.
" I almost told him to never mind, but I needed to know I wasn't the only one with this problem. "I don't know. I was just wondering if there was anything on your mind."
He laughed and took another swig of beer. "Anything on my mind? Since when are you my shrink?"
Fuck, I had to get this out to someone.
"Jimmy. I mean about Jimmy. He's getting rough."
He sobered up a bit, and watched my face, trying to figure me out.
"I've noticed," he finally settled with.
"Yeah. It's hard not to."
We sat in silence for quite a while after that, thinking, drinking; Bonzo trying to think up something to say to comfort me in a way that wouldn't seem too fluffy, and me trying to do the same for myself.
"I think he'll be fine," came Bonzo's assurance.
"No you don't," I accused.
"Sure I do. Jimmy's always been the kind of person who-"
"Bonzo, he's fucking addicted. I knew it so long ago. I fucking knew it." I shook my head, letting my hair fall over my eyes. I felt shaken, but I didn't want him to see. "I should have done something. I should have just admitted it to myself. Said yeah, Jimmy's going down the wrong road. I should have stopped him."
"Robert, he's his own person, I doubt you would have had any influence as to what he did or didn't do."
I shook my head again. "No," I managed, my voice sounding painfully sick. "No, he listens to me. Sometimes. I could have had some influence. Jimmy's a listener. He'd hear me out."
"Robert, are you okay?"
I got up, suddenly. I felt oppressed. I needed to get out.
"Where are you going?"
"I don't know.
"Wait, you should really stay here. I'll go. You need sleep or---"
"I don't need fucking sleep," I spat. Bonzo was taken aback. I could feel it in his silence, though I dared not look at him. I grabbed a jacket, put on a pair of shoes and left.
I wanted to know where Jimmy was. What he was thinking. Whether he ever wanted to talk to me again. My stomach was being torn apart by poison butterflies. My heart was heaving itself up into my throat, just a sour lump threatening to choke me to death.
I walked through the golden hotel lobby and into the black night. It was drizzling out, and I didn't give a shit. I wanted out of this. I wanted to go back in time and shoot whoever offered Jimmy a sniff in the first place right between the eyes. I wanted to shove the sick feeling I had for my friend down their throat and see how they liked it. See if they liked seeing their friend wasting away and see if they liked it when they thought back to when his addiction didn't exist, and you could see the excitement of life in his eyes.
God, it seemed so long ago now. When I'd first met Jimmy; the way he held himself, the way he talked with such gentleness and such care. Even the way his guitar playing was immaculate. He was still good, but he was getting sloppy. We'd get on stage and he's be down as fuck with his guitar hanging to his knees, his aviators on hiding those eyes of his. Hiding his secret. But it was out now, and he knew it. That's why he'd freaked out at me in the hallway earlier.
I just wanted to find him and tell him that all I wanted was for him to stop. I'd give up anything if he just stopped.
I found a dry place to sit under a concrete overpass. The street was quiet, and I relished in it, sitting down, my back to the cold stone, head in my hands.
I silently cursed myself for leaving Bonzo like that. He'd understand though. We always got each other. I just wished I got Jimmy like that. I just wanted to know what he was thinking so I knew what to do.
What could I do?
I picked up a rock and hucked it onto the street. It hit the ground with a cold 'clack' and bounced to the grass on the other side of the road. I felt around in the dark for another one. Picked it up; threw it. It was a calming repetition.
About the fifth time I felt a sharp white pain as my hand came down. I pulled back quick.
"Fuck," I hissed, bringing my hand close to my face to see the damage.
A single spot of blood beaded out slowly and waved my hand in disgust, trying to shake it off, squinting at the ground beside me.
Beside me lay a needle, it's violent point smiling with the taste of fresh blood.
"Son of a bitch," I choked, shaking feverishly, my eyes watering from the physical and emotional pain I was drowning in.
I stood, lifted my foot, and stomped on it, crushing it into the ground with a shattering sound, drilling it into the stone as hard as I could as my mind screamed at the very thought that the instrument of death itself had even touched me.
When I was done, I looked down at it, my eyes adjusted to the dark. It's remains lye on the ground, ugly and terrible in every sense of my mind. I could just see it driving into Jimmy's arm. Polluting his veins, lying to him, telling him it was what he needed, making him lie to himself and to me. Not allowing him to function when he wanted to. Controlling him, allowing his body to work only when it was coursing through him.
The more I had thought about it, the more I had accepted his addiction as a fact. And the more I though about its control on Jimmy, the more I knew I loved him. He was my friend. I loved him, I really did. All I needed was for him to get better, or I was going to die along with him.