Книга A Scanner Darkly. Содержание - 9
“You know what they do in cassette-tape stores now?” Donna said energetically when he returned. The ten tabs were nowhere in sight; she had already stashed them. “Regarding tapes?”
“They arrest you,” he said, “if you steal them.”
“They always did that. Now what they do—you know when you carry an LP or a tape to the counter and the clerk removes the little price tag that’s gummed on? Well, guess what. Guess what I found out almost the hard way.” She threw herself down in a chair, grinning in anticipation, and brought forth a foil-wrapped tiny cube, which he identified as a fragment of hash even before she unwrapped it. “That isn’t only a gummed-on price sticker. There’s also a tiny fragment of some kind of alloy in it, and if that sticker isn’t removed by the clerk at the counter, and you try to get out through the door with it, then an alarm goes off.”
“How did you find out almost the hard way?”
“Some teenybopper tried to walk out with one under her coat ahead of me and the alarm went off and they grabbed her and the pigs came.”
“How many did you have under your coat?”
“Did you also have dope in your car?” he said. “Because once they got you for the tape rip-off, they’d impound your car, because you’d be downtown looking out, and the car would be routinely towed away and then they’d find the dope and send you up for that, too. I’ll bet that wasn’t locally, either; I’ll bet you did that where—” He had started to say, Where you don’t know anybody in law enforcement who would intervene. But he could not say that, because he meant himself; were Donna even busted, at least where he had any pull, he would work his ass off to help her. But he could do nothing, say, up in L.A. County. And if it ever happened, which eventually it would, there it would happen: too fan off for him to hear or help. He had a scenario start rolling in his head then, a horror fantasy: Donna, much like Luckman, dying with no one hearing or caring or doing anything; they might hear, but they, like Barris, would remain impassive and inert until for her it was all over. She would not literally die, as Luckman had—had? He meant might. But she, being an addict to Substance D, would not only be in jail but she would have to withdraw, cold turkey. And since she was dealing, not just using—and there was a rap for theft as well—she would be in for a while, and a lot of other things, dreadful things, would happen to her. So when she came back out she would be a different Donna. The soft, careful expression that he dug so much, the warmth—that would be altered into God knew what, anyhow something empty and too much used. Donna translated into a thing; and so it went, for all of them someday, but for Donna, he hoped, far and away beyond his own lifetime. And not where he couldn’t help.
“Spunky,” he said to her now, unhappily, “without Spooky.”
“What’s that?” After a moment she understood. “Oh, that TA therapy. But when I do hash …” She had gotten out her very own little round ceramic hash pipe, like a sand dollar, which she had made herself, and was lighting it. “Then I’m Sleepy.” Gazing up at him, bright-eyed and happy, she laughed and extended to him the precious hash pipe. “I’ll supercharge you,” she declared. “Sit down.”
As he seated himself, she rose to her feet, stood puffing the hash pipe into lively activity, then waddled at him, bent, and as he opened his mouth—like a baby bird, he thought, as he always thought when she did this—she exhaled great gray forceful jets of hash smoke into him, filling him with her own hot and bold and incorrigible energy, which was at the same time a pacifying agent that relaxed and mellowed them both out together: she who supercharged and Bob Arctor who received.
“I love you, Donna,” he said. This supercharging, this was the substitute for sexual relations with her that he got, and maybe it was better; it was worth so much; it was so intimate, and very strange viewed that way, because first she could put something inside him, and then, if she wanted, he put something into her. An even exchange, back and forth, until the hash ran out.
“Yeah, I can dig it, your being in love with me,” she said, chuckled, sat down beside him, grinning, to take a hit from the hash pipe now, for herself.
“Hey, Donna, man,” he said. “Do you like cats?”
She blinked, red-eyed. “Dripping little things. Moving along about a foot above the ground.”
“Above, no, on the ground.”
“Drippy. Behind furniture.”
“Little spring flowers, then,” he said.
“Yes,” she said. “I can dig it—little spring flowers, with yellow in them. That first come up.”
“Before,” he said. “Before anyone.”
“Yes.” She nodded, eyes shut, off in her trip. “Before anyone stomps them, and they’re—gone.”
“You know me,” he said. “You can read me.”
She lay back, setting down the hash pipe. It had gone out. “No more,” she said, and her smile slowly dwindled away.
“What’s wrong?” he said.
“Nothing.” She shook her head and that was all.
“Can I put my arms around you?” he said. “I want to hold you. Okay? Hug you, like. Okay?”
Her dark, enlarged, unfocused weary eyes opened. “No,” she said. “No, you’re too ugly.”
“What?” he said.
“No!” she said, sharply now. “I snort a lot of coke; I have to be super careful because I snort a lot of coke.”
“Ugly!” he echoed, furious at her. “Fuck you, Donna.”
“Just leave my body alone,” she said, staring at him.
“Sure,” he said. “Sure.” He got to his feet and backed away. “You better believe it.” He felt like going out to his car, getting his pistol from the glove compartment, and shooting her face off, bursting her skull and eyes to bits. And then that passed, that hash hate and fury. “Fuck it,” he said dismally.
“I don’t like people to grope my body,” Donna said. “I have to watch out for that because I do so much coke. Someday I have it planned I’m going over the Canadian border with four pounds of coke in it, in my snatch. I’ll say I’m a Catholic and a virgin. Where are you going?” Alarm had her now; she half rose.
“I’m taking off,” he said.
“Your car is at your place. I drove you.” The girl struggled up, tousled and confused and half asleep, wandered toward the closet to get her leather jacket. “I’ll drive you back. But you can see why I have to protect my snatch. Four pounds of coke is worth—”
“No fucking way,” he said. “You’re too stoned to drive ten feet, and you never fucking let anybody else drive that little roller skate of yours.”
Facing him, she yelled wildly, “That’s because nobody else can fucking drive my car! Nobody else even gets it right, no man especially! Driving on anything else! You had your hands down into my—”
And then he was somewhere outside in the darkness, roaming, without his coat, in a strange part of town. Nobody with him. Fucking alone, he thought, and then he heard Donna hurrying along after him, trying to catch up with him, panting for breath, because she did so much pot and hash these days that her lungs were half silted up with resins. He halted, stood without turning, waiting, feeling really down.
Approaching him, Donna slowed, panted, “I am dreadfully sorry I’ve hurt your feelings. By what I said. I was out of it.”
“Yeah,” he said. “Too ugly!”
“Sometimes when I’ve worked all day and I’m super super tired, the first hit I take just spaces me. You wanna come back? Or what? You wanta go to the drive-in? What about the Southern Comfort? I can’t buy it … they won’t sell it to me,” she said, and paused. “I’m underage, right?”
“Okay,” he said. Together they walked back.
“That sure is good hash, isn’t it?” Donna said.
Bob Arctor said, “It’s black sticky hash, which means it’s saturated with opium alkaloids. What you’re smoking is opium, not hash—do you know that? That’s why it costs so much—do you know that?” He heard his voice rise; he stopped walking. “You aren’t doing hash, sweetie. You’re doing opium, and that means a lifetime habit at a cost of … what’s ‘hash’ selling for now a pound? And you’ll be smoking and nodding off and nodding off and not being able to get your car in gear and rear-ending trucks and needing it every day before you go to work—”