Getting nailed by those badge-wearing bumpkins not only cost me my hot-assed old school Suzuki but their petty jealousies have been following me around, cramp the fuck out of my style, like a wet sack of shit across the neck. Everything goes wrong; missed chances, sub-par dope, strings of minor but galling hassles.
I’m beset with logistical snags, flat tires and dropped calls. Regulars badger for fronts of my badly cut dope then take their cash elsewhere. I’ve scrambled all over for a decent wholesale connection but keep rolling snake-eyed paper thin puppets who know a guy who knows a guy who knows some other fucking guy ad infinitum.
Years ago, a couple boatloads of Persian traders alighted on our fair shores and filled this three-legged town with brown magic from the fabled hills of Ariana. After their top dogs made a great show of opening vast and glittering discos, they promptly blew themselves up by becoming their own best customers.
Stalwart wops whose forefathers literally built this burgh─even they’ve lost the way, victims of hubris and canny TV producers. They pigged out on the illustrious Sicilian tit for centuries but too much media fawning turned them into a herd of useless Gotti mimics who tried to leverage Omerta into a household name.
Inbred racist bikers step into the breach now and again, reaching toward this cosmopolis from their surrounding hick town bunkers. Too often their success results in inexplicable farmhouse bloodbaths. Police are left to puzzle over mutilated bodies strewn about after a drunken argument involving some arcane point of order escalates into close range shotguns, crossbows and Bowie knives.
I did have high hopes for a gang of slick West Africans after they’d carved out territory in the east end. Not only were they stylish, happily venal and worldly, their pipeline was based on long established clan ties and appeared rock solid. However, as so many who’d sought to become the gods they once feared, these intrepid sons of the mother continent became infected with fetishistic consumerism. Looking to maximize revenue, they developed a rep for poisoning their clientele after diluting the product with mislabeled industrial effluents. This led to several intramural gun battles, leaving their sleek and shapely network a smoking ruin.
So it’s been back to the Saint Clair Porkchops. Stone headed men who beat each other senseless in front of street corner sports bars then stagger home to their mothers’ basements, not twenty doors away. They always have stuff but quality is inconsistent, watered down with the usual shortsighted greed and small time turf wars.
Desperate men do desperately stupid things so I go see an old witch on Dundas West, in the dead zone between Lansdowne and Roncesvalles. I’ve passed her sign a million times: Love Problems and Money.
She’s reputed to be the spiritual and titular descendant of the original Madame Schontz, a renowned Gypsy priestess who star centerman Dave Keon hired in 1969 to put an eternal curse on the Maple Leafs after they’d blackballed him at the peak of his impressive career. The team was condemned to never win another Cup, no matter how much coin they blow on superstars come and gone. So far so good. They’ve managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in a dozen inconceivable ways so I figure what the hell, Madame Schontz Junior is worth a shot. And what’s a hundred bucks? I blow a hundred bucks before I’m out the door these days. Just think about money and you’ve blown a hundred bucks.
A note taped to her doorway sends me around to a back alley. I knock and a suspicious young muzhyk woman opens up a crack. She looks past me and narrows her eyes, sniffs my air. “Nobody home.” I show her some cash. “I need to see Madame Schontz. Immediately.” The woman’s face off-gases about ten years and sixteen tons as she lets me in. “I’m the daughter,” she reports, poking a finger between her Double Dees, frayed bra straps cantilevered outward. She leads me into a musty hallway converted to a tiny kitchen. We’re pushed up against one another, her knockers pressed into my navel. She gestures further down the corridor. A Socialist Realism Christ on an ancient calendar hangs near the ceiling. We go by a derelict dumbwaiter. I half expect an arm to burst out and brain me with a skillet.
The daughter steers me into a dim backroom, small as a doghouse. Madame Schontz is a four-foot high pyramid of quivering flab wrapped in a sateen Blue Jays jacket, topped with a big pork roast face and pink visor hat. Hunkered on a rug, I can’t tell if she’s got legs or not. She toys with a few playing cards and some yellow dog’s teeth scattered on an overturned plastic bucket. I crouch down and the daughter offers to interpret. She squeezes in beside me and lays her chin on my shoulder. In the mirror behind Madame Schontz, we’re a two-headed Diane Arbus freak.
I’m a drug dealer, I explain, but having a truly shitty time finding decent drugs at a good price and it’s not only ruining my rep but alienating the most important sector of my customer base; a carefully cultivated collection of successful fags, lawyers, academics, arts parasites, petty government asswipes and other sundry middle class degenerates.
The daughter asks me to write down the drugs I’d like to procure. Just two, I tell her: Clean Colombian Flake and Sweet Brown Afghani H, the old fashioned stuff, if Madame would be so kind. The type processed with ether instead of the kerosene or diesel used nowadays by those cheap-ass CIA toadies. And some good sticky bud wouldn’t hurt either but not absolutely necessary since I’ve got weed more or less covered. And please, no pills or other pharmaceuticals. I find them gauche.
My c-note disappears down the daughter’s cleavage as she hands the scrap of paper to her mother. The old woman rubs it on her forehead and on her desiccated neck flab, chews it up and swallows. In about ten seconds she begins to tremble and sweat and jabber in several tongues.
Her nose runs, she pumps at her ears as if they’re ringing. Her hands twitch, she puffs on an invisible cigarette. Madame Schontz goes bug-eyed, cackles, yells and nods madly. She’s ecstatic and inspired. I smell it, a high Andean clean smell, a cold wind clears the sinuses. She laughs, haughty and luxurious. She freezes.
After some long moments, her eyelids begin to hang, blob body sagging in stages. She smacks her lips and savors a deep earthy flavor. She claws at herself sensually, murmurs with pleasure. I watch her lean forward in tiny increments, finally at a steep angle, her face not quite touching the plastic bucket.
“You mean like this?” the daughter asks. “Yeah,” I point. “Exactly like this. What she’s high on, that’s what I need. And the thing before.” Madame Schontz snaps out of it and her closed lipped smile beams at me with a heartfelt munificence. Her personal style might be more street corner Carnac than Oracle of Delphi but this bewitched babushka appears to be onto something.
“Go live your life,” her daughter tells me as I unfold myself from their lair.
chaperoning Opium at the jammed apartment of Fil’s father, Max. He’s a
dyspeptic old crip who fancies himself an inventor. We’re wedged into his pack
rat life, a shabby little place in Christie Pits, owned by the noisy Porkchops downstairs.
A lot of incandescent lights are on, red paisley wallpaper. Tables and bed are
supported by boxes of third and fourth hand war books every chairborne commando
must own. A raft of plastic bags fills one corner. Max always asks about his
son but I never reply.
P. Mann,” he declares. “Whereabouts unknown.”
picks her way through this overheated overstuffed crap pad, idly scoping tiny
soldier figurines and boxes of hotrod postcards. Her black hair is in long
pigtails with red plastic devil barrettes. She wears Oxfords, white knee socks,
kids training pants and a child-size wifebeater. She sucks on a popsicle while
examining Max’s collection of scale model WWII British fighter planes hung from
the ceiling by fishing wire.
is missing his left hand from mid-wrist. I’ve heard a bunch of different
versions how it happened, from an inexplicable cleaver attack to the extremely
rare Doctor Strangelove Syndrome, where the hand was removed because it kept
trying to tear out his throat.
he’s using an old fleshtone prosthesis bought at a garage sale after losing his
yearly allotment. The losses are down to Max getting boozed up and taking off
the hand to play up some drunken gag and forgetting it on the bar.
off from the Transit Commission’s ideological purity division years ago, he
whiles away his days building dildo attachments adapted to fit onto a
universally swiveling mount he sticks over his stump, custom braced all the way
to the elbow. His dildo arm is twice as thick as his drinking and smoking arm
so he’s ended up looking like a tennis player.
Friday night visits from Opium have been going on for quite some time─months, I
guess. To truly get off, he requires a very specific set up. She must wear her
child’s underthings and sit in the oversized wingback opposite, feet dangling
as she reads aloud from a dumbed down fairy tale collection, one of those
volumes with the pop-up 3D characters. Max playfully menaces her with one of
his dildo attachments, making it rev up and down with suggestive zings. She
smiles shyly and continues to read, slow and unsure, as a child of five might.
After about ten minutes of this warm-up, Max discreetly wacks off under a big
coffee table volume full of those grainy old trench warfare photos from
Passchendaele and Vimy Ridge. Opium pretends not to notice.
watch Max fuck around with his latest contraption, the Vual 3400 Dildonator,
named after a dearly departed pal who Max claims was built like a Khazar
donkey─known among aficionados as the donkey’s donkey. Max has used the
mechanism from a reciprocating saw with a massive twelve-inch red rubber dong
mounted on a metal shaft. The thing’s thick as the business end of a Louisville
slugger. It’s powered by heavy duty cables welded to a pair of 24-volt truck
batteries sitting on the floor.
plans to patent and market his creation through “gentlemen’s magazines.” This
new device not only pounds up and down but he’s installed a mini gyroscope to
effect random wiggles, waggles and figure eights. Max has been badgering me to
ask Opium to take a test drive. Yeah, that’ll work. The chick’s got like a
fifteen inch waist.
skilled fornication method,” Max brags with a bucktoothed grin as he waves it
hits an On switch zip-tied to his upper arm and the dong begins a slow
articulated rhumba. A hollow section in its middle is full of colored plastic
beads. They rattle and clatter as a blue-lit greeting card diode plays the
Average White Band tune, Cut The Cake. The thing does in fact wiggle,
woggle and wondrously worm its way through a snappy little routine. Opium
doesn’t look up from her fairy tales.
a minute or so the Dildonator seems to get stuck and repeatedly swivels to the
left. The motor whines as the mega-dong angrily pogos up and down, as if
throwing a tantrum. Max hits the Off switch but no dice. The beast howls and
dervishes. Its centrifugal force almost throws him out of his wheelchair. Max
battles to unlock it from the gyrating base. It’s clamped on tight. He yowls in
pain when the thing almost twists off a finger.
motor bursts into flame, igniting the sparkle-filled red rubber phallus. It
quickly liquefies black. Max shrieks as molten effluent runs down to his
forearm. I grab the loco dong with the sleeves of my jacket and try to tear it
off him. The thing deforms in my hands, its slimy napalm ooze sticking to me
and anything else it touches. Pieces of it drip and run onto the carpet. The
rug catches fire. I stamp on it but the goop comes up in flaming strings stuck
to my boot.
finally springs into action.
get water!” I holler. “It’s an electrical fire.”
what then?!” she yells from the kitchen.
powder! Baking soda. Anything!”
grab a dirty towel off the floor and swat at my sleeve, now going up. The dong
motor spins and screeches. I duck as it hurls its remaining guts in a wild 360.
The distended nightmare glob twists and sizzles, strung between me, Max and his
chair. He screams again as more flaming black rubber splatters his face. I try
to corral it with the towel. It too goes up, a fiery white flag.
the fuck up!” I yell just as me, Max and the rabid dong get hit with a choking
cloud of laundry powder. The light blue crystals clump and smoke but finally
kill the melted remains of the haywire dildo. The monster buzzes and farts a
final time. Opium stands there, empty jumbo detergent box in her hands. She
wears an astonished grin. Max shrugs, sheepish, picks at the bits of melted
rubber stuck to his glasses.