I Can’t Stop To Save My Life

A night like any other: Home at last, leaning over the balcony railing, the glow and carnage of the city below you.

You reach into your jacket pocket and feel the familiar crinkle.

The textures of plastic foil and battered cardboard calm you down at once; who needs the real deal when there’s a contact high this strong?

No, you still do.

Already you’re fidgeting at the hinge of the small box in your hand, cramming your shaky fingers into it while the earthy smell overcomes you all at once.

Your blood is boiling now.

Why did you ever start with this?

Perhaps your mother did it when you were still young. Or you wanted to be cool in fifth grade like all the others. Maybe it was just to calm your nerves after the drinks stopped doing the trick. Maybe the drinks are exactly why you’re doing it in the first place.

Psychology stuff.

What matters now is not the past – it’s the gas, the sparks, the flame, the gentle orange glow.

No light down there in the urban chaos compares to the sun in your palm at that very moment.

You take a deep breath and let the blue-grey cloud disperse into the streets below. The shaking vanishes. You think clearly now. But for how long?

This piece was written by Julian Lehnert, a long-time journo with a passion for music, literature and the arts, and a keen eye for a great story. Find him on Twitter or tune into his weekly radio show on Brisbane’s 4EB.

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