The road starts 896, Newark, Delaware, fiction by Timothy Gager

The road starts 896, Newark, Delaware

It started with Black Beauties but also with Pink Footballs. You remember those, at least one of them? When you chopped them up and inhaled the burn was remarkable. Take hundreds of tips of thumbtacks and rip them through your nasal cavity.

You never snorted Pop Rocks. Mikey died from snorting Pop Rocks or Black Beauties or Pink Footballs—or something. Somehow, his entire nose exploded and left a hole in his face. He had to kill himself right then and there. How the hell would he explain that to the Life Cereal folks?

That’s not a gateway drug. You knew this kid named Larry Crank, who was so bad that the drug was his nickname. A few lines of crank and you put the cassette of Live Rust on the player and just let it play….ten, twenty times. It was an entire day, an entire night. Your roommate said, “I used to like Neil Young.” You had a difficult time following that conversation.

You burned your lips on a crack pipe, without the warning: The glass on this pipe reaches extreme temperatures. Handle with care. You didn’t care. The blisters popped and fused your lips together.

Then the curly haired girl wouldn’t kiss you. She said you had some sort of disease, a social disease, some STD beyond recognition. You’d not been that way for very long. You grew a beard and set it on fire. You will never do it again.

GagerTimothy Gager is the author of eleven books of short fiction and poetry. His latest, The Thursday Appointments of Bill Sloan, (Big Table Publishing) is his first novel. He hosts the successful Dire Literary Series in Cambridge, Massachusetts for over thirteen years and is the co-founder of Somerville News Writers Festival. His work appears in over 300 journals, of which nine have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His work has been read on National Public Radio.

His work has appeared in over 300 journals since 2007 and of which nine have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His work has been read on National Public Radio.

Timothy was formerly the Fiction Editor of The Wilderness House Literary Review, the founding co-editor of The Heat City Literary Review and has edited the book, Out of the Blue Writers Unite: A Book of Poetry and Prose from the Out of the Blue Art Gallery.

A graduate of the University of Delaware, Timothy lives in Dedham, Massachusetts and is employed as a social worker.

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