Книга A Scanner Darkly. Содержание - 10
“Two of them do,” Arctor said.
Her dead-codfish eyes turned to fix their gaze on him. “You’re queer?” Connie asked.
“I try not to be. That’s why you’re here tonight.”
“Are you putting up a pretty good battle against it?”
“You better believe it.”
Connie nodded. “Yes, I suppose I’m about to find out. If you’re a latent gay you probably want me to take the initiative. Lie down and I’ll do you. Want me to undress you? Okay, you just lie there and I’ll do it all.” She reached for his zipper.
Later, in the semidarkness he drowsed, from—so to speak—his own fix. Connie snored on beside him, lying on her back with her arms at her sides outside the covers. He could see her dimly. They sleep like Count Dracula, he thought, junkies do. Staring straight up until all of a sudden they sit up, like a machine cranked from position A to position B. “It—must—be—day,” the junkie says, or anyhow the tape in his head says. Plays him his instructions, the mind of a junkie being like the music you hear on a clock radio … it sometimes sounds pretty, but it is only there to make you do something. The music from the clock radio is to wake you up; the music from the junkie is to get you to become a means for him to obtain more junk, in whatever way you can serve. He, a machine, will turn you into his machine.
Every junkie, he thought, is a recording.
Again he dozed, meditating about these bad things. And eventually the junkie, if it’s a chick, has nothing to sell but her body. Like Connie, he thought; Connie right here.
Opening his eyes, he turned toward the girl beside him and saw Donna Hawthorne.
Instantly he sat up. Donna! he thought. He could make out her face clearly. No doubt. Christ! he thought, and reached for the bedside light. His fingers touched it; the lamp tumbled and fell. The girl, however, slept on. He still stared at her, and then by degrees he saw Connie again, hatchet-faced, bleak-jawed, sunken, the gaunt face of the out-of-it junkie, Connie and not Donna; one girl, not the other.
He lay back and, miserable, slept somewhat again, wondering what it meant and so forth and on and on, into darkness.
“I don’t care if he stunk,” the girl beside him muttered later on, dreamily, in her sleep. “I still loved him.”
He wondered who she meant. A boy friend? Her father? A tomcat? A childhood precious stuffed toy? Maybe all of them, he thought. But the words were “I loved,” not “I still love.” Evidently he, whatever or whoever he had been, was gone now. Maybe, Arctor reflected, they (whoever they were) had made her throw him out, because he stank so bad.
Probably so. He wondered how old she had been then, the remembering worn-out junkie girl who dozed beside him.
In his scramble suit, Fred sat before a battery of whirling holo-playbacks, watching Jim Barris in Bob Arctor’s living room reading a book on mushrooms. Why mushrooms? Fred wondered, and sped the tapes at high-speed forward to an hour later. There sat Barris yet, reading with great concentration and making notes.
Presently Barris set the book down and left the house, passing out of scanning range. When he returned he carried a little brown-paper bag which he set on the coffee table and opened. From it he removed dried mushrooms, which he then began to compare one by one with the color photos in the book. With excessive deliberation, unusual for him, he compared each. At last he pushed one miserable-looking mushroom aside and restored the others to the bag; from his pocket he brought a handful of empty capsules and then with equally great precision began crumbling bits of the one particular mushroom into the caps and sealing each of them in turn.
After that, Barris started phoning. The phone tap automatically recorded the numbers called.
“Hello, this is Jim.”
“Say, have I scored.”
“A rare hallucinogenic mushroom used in South American mystery cults thousands of years ago. You fly, you become invisible, understand the speech of animals—”
“No thanks.” Click.
Redialing. “Hello, this is Jim.”
“Jim? Jim who?”
“With the beard … green shades, leather pants. I met you at a happening over at Wanda—”
“Oh yeah. Jim. Yeah.”
“You interested in scoring on some organic psychedelics?”
“Well, I don’t know …” Unease. “You sure this is Jim? You don’t sound like him.”
“I’ve got something unbelievable, a rare organic mushroom from South America, used in Indian mystery cults thousands of years ago. You fly, become invisible, your car disappears, you are able to understand the speech of animals—”
“My car disappears all the time. When I leave it in a towaway zone. Ha-ha.”
“I can lay perhaps six caps of this Psilocybe on you.”
“Five dollars a cap.”
“Outrageous! No kidding? Hey, I’ll meet you somewhere.” Then suspicion. “You know, I believe I remember you—you burned me once. Where’d you get these mushrooms hits? How do I know they’re not weak acid?”
“They were brought to the U.S. inside a clay idol,” Barris said. “As part of a carefully guarded art shipment to a museum, with this one idol marked. The customs pigs never suspected.” Barris added, “If they don’t get you off I’ll refund your money.”
“Well, that’s meaningless if my head’s been eaten and I’m swinging through the trees.”
“I dropped one two days ago myself,” Barris said. “To test it out. The best trip I ever had—lots of colors. Better than mescaline, for sure. I don’t want my customers burned. I always test my stuff myself. It’s guaranteed.”
Behind Fred another scramble suit was watching the holomonitor now too. “What’s he peddling? Mescaline, he says?”
“He’s been capping mushrooms,” Fred said, “that either he picked or someone else picked, locally.”
“Some mushrooms are toxic in the extreme,” the scramble suit behind Fred said.
A third scramble suit knocked off its own holo scrutiny for a moment and stood with them now. “Certain Amanita mushrooms contain four toxins that are red-blood-cell cracking agents. It takes two weeks to die and there’s no antidote. It’s incalculably painful. Only an expert can tell what mushroom he’s picking for sure when they’re wild.”
“I know,” Fred said, and marked the indent numbers of this tape section for department use.
Barris again was dialing.
“What’s the statute violation cited on this?” Fred said.
“Misrepresentation in advertising,” one of the other scramble suits said, and both laughed and returned to their own screens. Fred continued watching.
On Holo Monitor Four the front door of the house opened and Bob Arctor entered, looking dejected. “Hi.”
“Howdy,” Barris said, gathering his caps together and thrusting them deep into his pocket. “How’d you make out with Donna?” He chuckled. “In several ways, maybe, eh?”
“Okay, fuck off,” Arctor said, and passed from Holo Monitor Four, to be picked up in his bedroom a moment later by scanner five. There, with the door kicked shut, Arctor brought forth a number of plastic bags filled with white tabs; he stood a moment uncertainly and then he stuffed them down under the covers of his bed, out of sight, and took off his coat. He appeared weary and unhappy; his face was drawn.
For a moment Bob Arctor sat on the edge of his unmade bed, all by himself. He at last shook his head, rose, stood uncertain … then he smoothed his hair and left the room, to be picked up by the central living room scanner as he approached Barris. During this time scanner two had witnessed Barris hiding the brown bag of mushrooms under the couch cushions and placing the mushroom textbook back on the bookshelf where it was not noticeable.
“What you been doing?” Arctor asked him.