Excerpt Short Story


an excerpt from noms fictifs

by Olivier Sylvestre

Hamac, 2017


five one-cc’s
you ask me
just the flutes
no water no cups no alcohol pads
no brown bag to put them into
not even after the hi
not even before the thanks
that you don’t spit out for me
because a fix is a fix
and you need yours
as soon as possible
to relieve the pain
that’s been killing your veins
since six am
and you know that we distribute
the stuff you need
and collect the stuff you don’t
in yellow containers
before cactus opens
on sainte-catherine

your name i ask
first name only
nickname if you want
fake name if you must
the procedure is the procedure
i need to write it down
on my record sheet that records the distribution of
crack-cocaine pipes
free advice
puncture site checking
injection coaching

even if you’re a minor
even if you’re pregnant
even if you don’t care

thanks to the harm-reduction philosophy
dick-from-new-brunswick you answer
without a blink
all alone dans l’accueil
only your sea of dreadlocks to keep you company
and these flutes you play on
down the stairs of the métro
the ones that make music
and the others – the ones that make it stop

suddenly you kinda open the vault

lost in montreal since last new year’s eve
no card no cheque no nothing
mother dead father unknown
just an uncle out here who don’t give a damn about me
ain’t eaten for three full days
but a hell of a style you still got there
i can’t help noticing
and this beautiful young girl
jolene is her fake name
always on your mind
love of my life
disappeared without warning in moncton
with my heart in her pocket
there’s no way i can ever save enough to go back
and every time you think of her
you swallow the cry
all this you tell me behind the bulletproof glass
in the four-second space-in-time
between the counter and the exit
and then you vanish to your not-so-sweet journey
still no please no thanks
but a beautiful and sad story
for me

only the harsh beeping sound of the door
will mark your visit

et là je peux pas m’empêcher de penser
no man can choose this path
ça c’est sûr
there is no such thing as choice

exile is a country you are forced into

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Originally written in English