Thursday, April 9, 2015

Letter I: The Choose Your Poison #AtoZChallenge #FridayFlash

   Breathe deep the gathering gloom...
  Jesse lay spread eagle, drifting on the warm seas, his raft velutinous and undulating.  Velutinous. Vellll...ooooo...tin...usss... the word was ECHOING echo echo the raft spun into a maelstrom, the sky above bellowing in time with his breathing. Warm, deliciously warm, somehow he had been transported from frigid Michigan to the balmy tropics of...where? He felt his own grin materialize, stretching wider, wider, until his entire face split and he felt his skin beginning to slip, oozing like snot around his ears and into his hair.
     The genial sun above exploded into a white-hot supernova and his body caught fire.  Rolling from the raft into the water, he instead found himself writhing on the newly installed beige Berber carpet. The fall had caused his stomach to contract violently in fear; he vomited, repeatedly, unable to lift his head to avoid the sour contents.
     His grandmother had last seen him a few hours ago on an auditorium stage, accepting his award for Honor Roll student. Now she was screaming into the phone while attempting to lift his head and wipe his face with her sweater. His nostrils filled with the lavender scent of her clothes and he helplessly spewed again.
     The police arrived first, one officer carrying an automated defibrillator. Standard practice these days, especially when a call comes in for an unconscious teenager. He touched Jesse's scorching forehead, then felt for a pulse. The second officer snapped on a glove and picked up the can lying next to the boy.
     "They're gonna have to build a new wing on the hospital if this keeps up. Third one in a week."
    






*****
Intoxicative Inhalants have been used throughout history for both religious and recreational use. Both nitrous oxide and ether (primarily used as anesthetics) were used as recreational drugs during the 1800s. This story focuses on abuse of household and industrial chemicals, called sniffing, huffing or bagging. Popular inhalants include volatile chemicals used in paints and thinners, butane, glues and cements, and aerosol electronics cleaners ( "canned air" or "duster").  They produce effects ranging from a general "high" feeling similar to an alcohol buzz, to euphoria and hallucinations.

Dangerous and often lethal side effects include heart arrhythmia, spikes in body temperature to over 106F, aspiration/asphyxiation from inhaling vomit, and hypoxia (lack of oxygen). Sudden cardiac arrest can occur with the first "huff" or after years of use.

Thousands of people die each year by accidental poisoning. Sadly, thousands more poison themselves deliberately - in search of a high.


10 comments:

  1. So sad, and just nasty. I remember kids getting butane highs when I was in high school and I just thought it seemed so toxic. Sadly, some kids are so desperate to feel good, they will ingest anything to feel a buzz. I know of at least one teenager that has died directly due to huffing the canned duster stuff. Who would even think of inhaling that? Someone desperate, I guess.

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    1. Kids are always looking for a high, I guess. And a hallmark of youth is feeling invincible.

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  2. So sad that kids have got into their head that they can only have a good time by drugs or sniffing ... you piece of flash captures the reality of it all.

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    1. We had a police officer come to the schools to talk about huffing and the "new" synthetic drugs like bath salts and spice. The bad thing about chemicals like duster and paint thinner is that they are easily obtained and legal to buy.

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  3. fiction carries concept, location, mood, and plots.

    lots of creative juice here.

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  4. Engaging read; I was hooked from the beginning and (having stumbled upon it) I wasn't privy to the theme right away. It's a nice slice of fiction, gripping and fast-paced, yet resolved enough at the end... in a strange, need-to-know-more kind of way.

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    1. Thank you! It's kind of a depressing theme in a way, but so fascinating in some respects. It opens of the spectrum of human vices, from addiction to murder.

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  5. Thank you for this valuable warning. I didn't know of this problem. I like your writing by the way. It is concise and packs a punch and it forced me to go to the dictionary!

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    1. Thank you! I'm always happy to send someone running to look up a word. :)

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