Authors: Erika Van Eck
Tags: #novella, #prequel
Today’s the first day of the tour with
Ignite. I look forward to the partying and meeting new people, but
I’m avoiding the fact that I’m going to have to sing songs that I
fucking hate. I don’t let the guys see my bitterness toward all of
the label stuff, though. They don’t have a financial backup like I
do, so at the end of the day, I’m doing this for my friends. We
have two more records to put out through this label then we can
part ways with no legal obligations.
My substance intake has
increased since the last tour. I rarely drink anything that isn’t
alcohol, even my morning coffee is laced with Bailey’s. It’s not a
problem. I don’t get shitfaced; I just drink enough so that I’m not
so edgy. Then at night, I smoke a joint or two so that I can fall
sleep. If the joints don’t
may throw in a few sleeping pills to do the
I know that with being on tour comes
the partying. It’s not like I’ve really taken a break from that
anyways, but it’s practically constant when we’re on
We’re meeting Ignite for the first time
at the after party. They were on tour with us before, but it was
such a big lineup that our paths never really crossed. I decide to
watch their set before the show ends. Their music is filled with a
lot of anger, and Zee doesn’t hold back in the delivery as I watch
them perform from the side of the stage. He screams the lyrics into
the microphone until his face is red and the veins in his neck pop
out. The guitarist comes in at the chorus and sings a softer tune
that’s easy for the crowd to sing along to.
As they wrap things up,
each of the guys
the stage near where I stand. My
arms are crossed in front of my chest, my usual stance as I watch
shows. Each of the band members
me with a short,
“What’s up,” and a head nod. As soon as Zee comes to pass me, he
stops in his tracks and looks me up and down with a mildly
disgusted look on his face. “
Caplin, is it?” he spits out.
Ignoring his obvious dislike toward me,
I release one of my hands and extend it in front of me to shake
Zee’s. “Yeah, nice to meet you, man. Great set.”
He ignores my outreached hand and aims
his hate-filled eyes to mine. “Who the fuck are you looking at.” He
pushes past me to the stairs that lead to the backstage
What in the hell just
happened? I would typically get in his face with a witty comeback,
but I wasn’t expecting that at all. I had never met the guy before,
and he already hates me.
The rest of the tour goes
by painstakingly slow. Zee still gives me cold looks at every
opportunity. I ignore them and stay out of his
for the most
part. I don’t want to get into a fight with him because I know that
would make the rest of the tour that much more difficult for
everyone. I didn’t tell the guys what happened because I don’t want
guy drama. They’re not afraid to confront anybody, especially
Paulie. Neither am I, usually, but this time around I’m trying to
actually do the smart thing.
We only have a few weeks
left on tour, and my nightmares are back. Nothing is
is a full night of dreamless
During off time, I hang out
with the guys on our tour bus. One particular day, Paulie says he’s
going to make a run. In Paulie terms, that
he’s going to
get drugs of some kind. I decide to go with him and expand my
tastes. I wait in the car while he buys the stuff.
When he gets back he says he bought
“H”. I know that means he scored heroin, which is a little harder
than I had planned to go but shit, if it gets rid of these
nightmares then I’m game for just about anything.
Paulie prepares it to snort. He offered
to prepare it through the needle, but that feels too real for me. I
don’t need a reality check right now; I need a fucking
I inhale the line through my nose
quickly. I sit and wait. After a couple minutes, I begin to think
that we got a shitty batch but then it slowly starts lifting me up.
Soon my head falls back onto the headrest of the car and I feel…
A genuine smile is
plastered onto my face and my mind is a clean slate. I don’t have a
worry in the world, and my body knows it. My limbs are completely
that is usually in my shoulders
This is what happiness feels
don’t think a broken home is responsible for a person’s
addiction. It’s easy to blame, and it certainly doesn’t help
matters, but addiction is something in and of itself. It happens
even in the most
families. An invisible
poisonous force that becomes the chink in your armor.
It goes under your skin, over your
heart, and takes over your mind. Every thought, every choice, every
goddamn motivation revolves around that addiction.
Then, when you’re at your
most vulnerable and don’t feel like you can go on, your habit
out. You let it take over the steering wheel of
your life. More often than not, it results in a life-altering
crash. At some point, you have to decide if you want to take
control of your life or let your addiction control it.
I chose my addiction.
Most days, I was either high or looking
for my next high.
I never thought that music
would be able to ruin me, but the label proved me wrong. They
destroyed the core of me, and without it, I was left with a hole so
deep that I needed to fill it or forget it. In the beginning of my
addiction, I would have said that the drugs made me forget it, but
once I was in the middle of my drug-induced storm, the line between
a filler and a forgetter blurred and it didn’t matter anymore. I
had a feeling of serenity that no one could take from me; I was in
control of my drug intake. Not the label, not my bandmates, not my
critics. No one. No one could take the feeling away from me. If I
wanted to block out the world, I could. I thought it was
but the truth was, I was just digging a deeper hole that
ended up being much harder to get out of than I could ever
I keep using
while most of my other drug use stops. I drink here and there
between hits, but mostly, I am H’s bitch. In the beginning, I would
snort but soon that isn’t enough, and I give
If I could pinpoint an
exact moment when I became an addict, I’d say the first time I shot
up. It was the
but it came in a rush. Fuck,
that rush, it’s beyond words. I’ve been chasing it ever
the high gets a little bit duller. Even so, it’s not enough
to make me stop.
The tour ended a few months ago, and
we’re due back in the studio, yet again, to record another
bestselling record. I could give a shit about a bestselling record,
I just want to fucking sing what I fucking write.
The label arranged collaboration with
Ignite. Not only that, but we’re headlining one of the stages at
the next festival tour with them. I was hoping like hell that I
could avoid Zee, but the way things are looking, he’ll be
The day comes when we’re scheduled to
record our collaboration song. My thoughts are starting to tangle
together. I haven’t had a hit since yesterday. I was going to
ignore it, but knowing that I would soon be in the same room with
Zee and the label producers, I can’t take the chance.
I inject a small dose; I don’t want to
go in high off my ass. I just need to untangle my thoughts and get
my head on straight. I can’t do that if I’m entering the early
stages of withdrawal.
As soon as I walk in, everyone’s eyes
turn to me. Apparently I’m the last to arrive by the looks on their
Zee jumps to his feet and storms at me.
I stiffen my frame and clench my hands ready for a
You were supposed to be
here forty-five fucking minutes ago!” he seethes.
A surprised laugh leaves my mouth.
“Dude, are you fucking serious right now? You need to get off your
high horse and stop being such a dick. I don’t even fucking know
you and you act like you hate me.”
Who’s acting,” he
A part of me finally snaps
and I push him on his chest. He stumbles
at me. Before he can make contact, our
surrounding us and pulling us apart.
A great start to this
ecording our third album made me come to a realization.
drugs I had been
taking up to that point
weren’t a cure for
my misery. They numbed it; they made me believe that what I was
experiencing was happiness. I guess, on a subconscious level, I
probably already knew
but I chose to ignore it. It
finally surfaces when I make an attempt to quit. I barely make it
twenty-four hours before I feel so sick to my stomach that I had to
have another hit.
Once I get the needle filled and
brought to my vein, my hand is shaking so badly that I miss the
target three times before succeeding.
Pathetic, aren’t I? A disgusting
asshole drug addict.
I’ve looked at every
my life and put the positive ones on
the back burner as if they don’t matter. I have Nate and I have
Grams…why can’t I just be happy with that. Why does my mind play
games with me? I’m sure if someone could read the dialogue that
goes on in the corners of my mind, they’d think I was a whiny
little rich boy who needs to get the fuck over his mommy and daddy
issues. Shit, I guess I am.
My inner self was at war, and I didn’t
care who won. I was a lost cause and I didn’t care how many drugs I
put into my bloodstream.
Our tour with Ignite went better than I
thought. We only have one more show to get through in NYC. It’s a
sold-out crowd, and I think that has lifted everyone’s spirits. Zee
is still cold toward me, but I’m ready to finally show him what I’m
made of. I dare that motherfucker to come at me like he did in the
studio; he’ll be in for quite the surprise.
I was going to fly Grams and Nate out
for our last show, but I don’t want them to see me. I’ve been in
rough shape lately. I made up some lame excuse for the reason
behind it, just saying that there was a glitch with the tickets and
I couldn’t get them in. Grams still insisted on coming, but I told
her that if she did she probably wouldn’t see me because the label
was flying the band somewhere right after the show and that it was
a last-minute thing. See, there was no point. She reluctantly
agreed to stay home but said I owed her big. I rolled my eyes at
that. I’m pretty sure I already owe that woman my life.
big doses lately. The amount I was using when I first started is
only enough to stop me from withdrawals.
Before the NYC show, I load up the
needle with a hefty dose and release it into my vein. The effect is
immediate, and I spend the time before our set in my blank
A knock on my dressing room
door breaks through my trance. I pop a couple of pills to help me
with the drowsiness that is a side effect
the H and make my
way to the stage. We still have fifteen minutes
so I’m not in any kind of rush.
I turn my head in the
direction the yell came from. I’m used to fans yelling for my
attention, but I can’t say any of them
ever called me by
my last name before. My eyes collide with Zee’s.
The effects of the H are
still prominent, and my actions are sluggish. I walk toward Zee and
to hide the signs, but by the
shake of his head, I take it that it’s not working.
What the fuck are you on,
None of your goddamn
business,” I grit my teeth.
We’re face to face, and the
moment has caused my adrenaline to run high. I can feel a crackle
in the air as if the
fight I’ve been craving
going to happen. We’re right
the stage, which means
there are fans and press everywhere. We’re under their watchful
eyes right now, and that fuels my anger. Maybe I’ll finally put
truth to the headlines the reporters always write about