. . . under the law almost everything is purged with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.'

Hebrews 9:22


“Morgan the dragon in flames made of aspic,” the junkie said poetically, fumbling around inside the packing crate. At least it sounded like that. It could have been.

“Margo, you're a drag and I'll find me an ice pick...” Or any number of other junk-fuzzied weirdnesses, but to the junkie doing the mumbling only one thing counted, and that was copping. With dope there was hope.

His years of scholarly pursuits into the nature, soul, limitations, and validity of human knowledge had been cooked down to a bubbly blood-thick essence. The epistemology of “dopology.” Get it and do it. Do it to it. Do it to me till I scream. Do it to me till I cream. Do it to it till I dream.

Finally he finds his filthy kit and gets his bad self tied and fried. Ohhhhhhhhh, yeah. That's right. The spike bites and he jacks it again and it rushes through him, and how can anything that feels so good be bad? No way, Oh Jay. He jacks it again, fascinated as he watches dopy blood bloody dope, and he nods off into blessed relief from those nagging aches, the agony of defeat, the heart-break of psoriasis, the cold hawk, all gone and forgotten.

Morgan the dragon and Margo the drag queen are all forgotten in the mystical, foggy land of the Wizard of Smack, but reality doth intrude, and he awakens, hallucinating, on the nod inside a packing crate in the shadows of an alley off West Erie. Glad to be in a nice, cozy shelter from the coming storm. But sorry to be hallucinating. So sorry to be hallucinating a human monster thing.

He is no stranger to hallucinogenic experiences. It was only yesterday or last month or sometime he saw a building levitate. High as jet contrails and tight as a bird's asshole he watched the side of a building begin to rise to the sky and he almost shouted in amazement and then the building held fast as the billboard some company had painted on their electric garage door slid out of view and he realized he'd been bamboozled by the oldest gag in the book, the garage-door billboard trick.

But this hallucination is so real it will take some doing to shrug off. This thing, this huge and awful gigantus of humanity, it STINKS. It looks so real you could reach out and touch it—or worse, it could reach out and touch you. It is a man thing. An immense, stinking giant.

The hype would curse his luck for having chosen that particular packing crate in that particular alley, because as the blurry-eyed addict came off the nod, a gigantic thing emerged from the depths of the street in a poisonous swirl of the most fetid, disgusting, noisome, and putrescent stink it had ever been his dubious pleasure to experience. And it was then that he realized this was no hallucination that would evaporate like a dope mirage.

Survival instincts being what they are in the human being, even in his advanced state of chemical euphoria and physiological ruin, the junkie had the good instincts to stay chilly as the apparition moved past his hiding place. He remained inside the upended packing crate, transfixed by fear, and he would later recall that a loud thunderclap exploded just as the thing came up out of the sewers, causing him to momentarily lose control of his bladder.

What he witnessed then was a sight few men had ever seen. The scary, scar-faced, monstrous mountain of a fat man stood quietly there in the alley, sensors ticking, frozen as if he was listening for something. Tick ... Tick ... Tick.... Time seems to stall, the sweep of the second hand sluggish, moving as if through glue.

The hype has never seen anything human look quite like this. Not just the size, but there is an animal awareness to the movements, a strange machinelike precision, almost a daintiness in each studied and careful motion and then—it freezes.

As the thing freezes and becomes inert the junkie also freezes, literally as well as figuratively. Freezing motionless and chilled to the bone in the breath of the dark hawk that has blown this cold Chicago rain down upon his world, freezing in terror at the specter that confronts him. Will it smell him as he has smelled it? His own dripping and dope-ravaged body fights off a shudder of cold fear.

A small quadruped makes a noise nearby and scurries away, but the huge man's killing hand remains clenched involuntarily and he continues to stand motionless. The big man wonders if he has imagined this rain, and inside the crate the hype wonders if he has imagined the huge thing, but he is afraid to move even a junk-addled muscle in spite of having a chill spasm stab through his bones, in spite of his discomfort, in spite of being doped to the gills, and in spite of being half an alley's length away from where the huge man now stands menacingly.

The rain opened up then but the man continued to stand there without moving. Waiting with infinite and

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