Forgetting how to Fly
by Arielle Friedman
Alan gazed at the sidewalk as he walked to work. A shadow moved past him, blocking out the sun and dancing on the sidewalk ahead. A ball of anger filled his chest. I'm not going to look up. Why give them the satisfaction? He held out for ten seconds, then lifted his head. It was a woman, and she didn't even have the decency to be young. Her grey hair flowed around her naked shoulders. She was facing the sky, oblivious to him and all the walkers down below.
He raised his wristphone to his mouth.
"Police," he commanded. "I'd like to report an urban flyer. Yes, I'll hold."
He felt a twist in his stomach. How long had it been since his last hit? He began clawing through his pockets with his left hand--jeans, jacket, shirtfront--how many pockets could he have?
His call connected. "Hello officer, my name is Alan Richards. Yes, I'm reporting an urban flyer at Sherbrook and Lawrence. Older woman, mid-fifties, long grey hair. She seems to be taunting those of us down below. Yes, completely naked, any child could see her." He found his pack in his back pocket. "My number is 4436-A32. Can you let me know if you catch her? Thank you."
His hands trembled as he hung up. His stomach twisted and sank in a telltale manner, like he'd swallowed a black hole which was sucking up his insides. He reached for his vial. As soon as he touched it the tremors stopped. He twisted off the cap, placed a stick from his pack into the amber liquid and placed the other end into his mouth. He activated his lighter and lowered the end of the stick into the blue flame.
The warmth spread through his body like a liquid, its edge a hot knife cutting his body with pleasure. He closed his eyes and sucked deeply from the stick between his lips. He felt himself soaring through space and time, all eternity at his fingertips, the past a wisp of air trailing behind.
The rush subsided. He clung to its remnants as he stamped the ash beneath his toe. It was a good hit.