Written by: Mohid Moosani
2:00 am in the morning and I’m sitting in my terrace garden, its mid February and Karachi’s temperature has hit a 30 year record low. I pull out a box of Xanax from my jeans pocket. I open the valued box. Looking at the three strips i think to myself, am i going all in? Each strip contains ten 0.5 mg pills of the magic potion that is called alprazolam. I decide to go all in. I start chewing the thirty tabs one by one with a glass of orange juice to help with the absolute bitter taste.
Once I’m done, I go to the kitchen fill my glass with ice to the top, pour some orange juice on it and come back to the terrace. I pick my cigarette packet from the table pull out a cigarette and light it up. The Xanax hasn’t kicked in yet, but it will, it always does and with a dose like this, I bet even an African elephant would pass out, but unfortunately I don’t, I never do. What follows is a continuous loss of short-term memory, anxiety on the negative side of the scale and a complete loss of sense of time. You look like a zombie on heroin. Completely lost and disoriented. The best and worst part however is that you wake up with almost no memory of what happened during the buzz. But it is in these moments only where I’m really able to dig deep inside my mind and do what I like best. Think.
The human mind has around 60,000 thoughts a day, unsurprisingly 95% of those are repeated.
Acquiring prescription drugs or for that fact any drug has always been a child’s play for me, I’ve been doing it since I was a child. This box of Xanax was a gift from the pharmacist, Shumayal from the drugstore at the corner of my street. I had a smooth sailing with him as I paid him extra 100 rupees every time I bought prescription drugs. Sometimes I would hand him a joint or two of my super famous Moroccan hash. Shumayal like many had moved to Karachi so that he could financially support his family, living in the Swat Valley of Pakistan. Of what one may claim to be family, he only had a sister and an aunt remaining, everyone else was either dead or missing.
As long as I can remember, I’ve been an addict. First I was addicted to the Beethoven’s Symphony 5 that came fed in my toy piano, Casio 177-J. It truly was the most professional and sophisticated toy piano one could have. At 8 I started stealing my grandfather’s cigarettes and at 13 I tried my first joint and from then there was no stopping for me. With all this junk going in my blood, I’ve been a regular blood donor, not to serve mankind but to let my body make new blood.
Now, like everyone I too needed someone to open up to and I chose Nisha. Maybe because we were always good to each other, we’d known each other for almost 8 years. We had a common ground, a reason to connect, we were both junkies and I played the devil in her life, I introduced her to all substances that could be abused. I was the one to teach her her first swear words. Our first time was at age 15 and was inspired by the Titanic, you can say we grew up together and did almost everything together. No, we didn’t fall in love but I had taught her to care less about the socially imposed morals that control our lives, and it did work. In a country like Pakistan it takes a lot of credence for a woman to live her life freely and I wanted exactly that for her.
45 minutes later and I start to notice how mellow I feel. Relaxed. Dropped my phone twice. Yeah. Its kicking in. Alprazolam makes you extremely social and so I called Nisha and asked her to come up to the terrace telling her a joint was waiting for her. She lived two houses away from me. As soon as I hung up, I rolled a joint so we’ll have something to do when she comes over.
Nisha comes to the terrace, her face tells me it hasn’t been a nice day for her, but initially I avoid asking about it. As she sees me sitting on the floor she comes and sits next to me, i rub my palm on her cheeks and pass the joint to her.
“Looks like you need it first”
“Huh. What tells you?”
“What else has my face been telling you? I hope it didn’t tell you I’ve been wearing the same bra for 3 days”
“No, that, I’ve been noticing myself”
“You bastard” she laughed.
Nisha puts her head in my lap and as she smokes the joint. I notice she shivered and a few seconds later I feel her tears fall down on my jeans. Maybe there was a greater reason why i wore those light blue jeans today after ages. I find it hard to resist the urge to talk to her about it, but I know her and I know I shouldn’t, so I resume surfing the Internet on my phone.
“Do we have something other than hash?”
“What do you want?”
“I don’t know. Anything”
“Not really, just a can of Millennium in my bedroom fridge”
“I’ll go get it”
Nisha returns with the beer can, while my short term memory is now starting to fade away, I start to wonder where did she suddenly land from. And I ask her.
“Fuck! You’re on the Xannies aren’t you?”
“You bastard, get me some too!”
“Let me see if Shumayal can get us something”
I called Shumayal and invite him to my place and asked him to bring some Xanax for Nisha, but no more than 6 pills. Because I love her. Shumayal tells me it’ll take him one hour.
Nisha asks me to cut her hair in the meanwhile, she likes them short, and more than her, I like them short. For the past three years at least, I’ve been cutting her hair, going to the parlors made her feel objectified.
Towards her room I walked deliriously disorient, as we go in the room she takes her shirt off, I pick the pair of scissors kept on the bathroom cabinet. She sits on the chair, I wrap a towel around her neck and start to cut her hair. I start them exactly the way we both love, two inches above the shoulder. As I’m slowly and carefully cutting her hair she says,
“I love you like a mother”
“Wow, one millennium and and you’re wasted already?”
“No. I mean it. Look into my eyes”
Then she turns around pauses for a second and kisses my forehead. I pinch her cheeks softly as a response to it.
After cutting her hair, I go to the kitchen make myself around half a liter of coffee so that I don’t fall asleep because of the Xanax. I light another cigarette, zoning in and out of my mind, I keep starring at the grey granite kitchen counter while I wait for the half liter water to boil. And as expected I was there for almost 18 minutes until I realized the water had been over boiling for and a long time, its quantity reduced to half, I decide to double the amount of coffee and just as I take a sip, I hear the door bell. I open the door and as expected, Shumayal is at the other end. I give him a smile, hug him and pat on his back. He has a transparent plastic in bag in his hands and I can see he’s brought some Munchies, a few packets of chips, 2 liter bottles of coca cola, a few biscuits, and at least ten packets of Chilli-Milli jellies, he knows I love them. We start walking towards my room with the thermos in my hand.
What I love most about my room is that I have four leather bean bags and they are super comfy, plus the dim lights in my room makes it look like a junky’s heaven.
Shumayal hands the tabs to Nisha, takes a syringe out, a packet of heroin and saline water for himself. I look at him surprised and I say,
“No bro, don’t go there”
“A little party never killed no one”
“This huge bag looks like a party for the entire neighborhood.”
“Bro, I’m from Swat, my great-grandfather lived for a hundred and seven years”
I say no more, and let him prepare his syringe for both of us, on the other hand Nisha is finally relieved. Seeing her Xanax, she rushed to get a glass of juice, and like I, she too chews them and gulps it down with the juice.
Now, we three are in the room, chilling on the bean bags, turn on some mellow music, something that was on Shumayal’s SoundCloud.
I think it was between the third or fourth song that I passed out. All of those pills were at their peak by then. Nisha too, I assumed slept after an hour or two.
Nisha wakes up at 3:30 pm, doesn’t bother waking me up, turns her laptop on and starts watching Game of Thrones, five hours later she tries to wake me up but I don’t, finally at 9:00 pm she shakes me, slaps me and so I wake
“Please make me coffee”
“Give me ten” she replied, laughing.’
After drinking my coffee and I ask Nisha about Shumayal.
“The way he was injecting non stop, I doubt he even made it out our main gate.”
“Nah. He’s a tough lad. When did he leave?”
“I don’t know”
Except that he did not leave, we didn’t discover until the next day, for around 56 hours his body had been rotting in my guest room. In a dried pool of vomit, there was Shumayal on the ground, his face towards the window and his eyes open quarter of a centimeter. It was as if he was lost in transition, calmly looking outside the window.
My first reaction is irritation, getting rid of the body will be a painstaking task. I believe God has given me the ability to postpone my weaker emotions and stay calm at the time of such calamities.
Lighting up a cigarette I gaze at Shumayal’s body, thinking about his family and finally call Nisha.
“Fuck! Fuck! ”
She panics, holding her chin, I tell her
“Go upstairs. Right now”
Besides from clearing the mess another thought that’s bothering me is that I will have to find an alternative for Shumayal.
I must admit I’m excited to get done with disposing his body, it sounds fun doesn’t it? I mean, come on, shows like these do so well in the industry. Somehow i have the strategy all in place, I don’t need to think even for the smallest fraction of a second.
I go to the store room in the basement of our two story house, get the drill machine, a rusted and blunt garden saw and a hammer. I come back to the guest room pull Shumayal’s body inside the bathroom, I start trying to cut off his wrist with a saw, a scientific theory dawned upon my mind as I realized it was harder to cut off his right wrist, next i connect the drill to the hair dryer socket next to the bathroom mirror, one by one i vertically drill all his teeth to powder, this was important incase any dental records were used to identify the body, now I look at his face, for a moment I recall how humble his way of speaking was, instantly snapping out of this thought I go to the kitchen to get a small and sharp knife. It’s time to cure his face of his skin and so I do exactly that. A pair of wrists and facial skin go into the blender. The liquid slime like substance becomes food for the crows as I pour it on the window sill.
Next is the body to be dealt with, I wrap it in an old blanket, a faded Mickey Mouse blanket. I place it in my car’s trunk with a few newspapers underneath. I dispose the body at an isolated spot near do darya – an isolated place just outside of Karachi, it would be discovered soon but never could it be identified.
Now I’m finally done, I treat myself with a nip of QDL superior whiskey from the local licensed wine shop, inferior enough to give you liver infection if you drink it thrice a week. As I sip it driving around unwinding thinking about the entire scene I see Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s mausoleum. I always wanted to see what it was like from the inside and today despite the disturbing events I’m drawn towards entering the shrine. I park my car at the first available spot. Stinking of liquor, I walk out of the car with only one puff of my cigarette remaining, it softly burns my fingers, infusing them with tar.
Climbing up what I think are one of the world’s longest stairs, I notice people of all kinds, neat clean shalwar kameez wearing gents to dirty malaangs, from 60 years old burqa wearing oldies to young charming girls in colorful kurtis, most of these people looked poor. To my surprise, no one even looked at me. They did not care of my alcohol stinking breath and so I walked with ease. As I finally entered the shrine, I noticed a foul smell in the air, people crowded around Shah Ghazi’s grave. I do not bother going near the grave, instead what grabs my attention are the tiny pieces of mirrors on the ceiling, instantly taking me into a state of trance, I wonder if Shah Ghazi ever imagined that he’d become such a legend. My heart answered, “he didn’t care”.
Having enough of Shah Ghazi and his shrine and his malaangs and the foul smell, I decide to go back home.
As I enter the door to my living room I see a disturbed and quiet Nisha sitting on the couch, the sight of food however has her face lit. I pat on her head lightly and sit next to her but she doesn’t reacts. Neither of us speaks. I go to bed and sleep for good 6 hours when suddenly around 4:30 am the door bell rings. Scared, I walk towards the door, the longest walk of my walk – who could be there. Who? Without asking who it was on the other side I opened the door, like a goat ready to be slaughtered, not even showing the slightest resistance. What I see is worse than being slaughtered. It was Shumayal standing in front of me with his humble smile. It was like my heart had fell from my chest to the knees. I slap myself hard, but I don’t feel it. I slap myself again and to my surprise i don’t feel it this time either.
That night not only Shumayal had died, I too had overdosed onwas just my mind playing tricks on me for the seven minutes before I died.