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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
this short story is about a homeless person in dublin whi is addicted to heroin

Submitted: February 25, 2012

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Submitted: February 25, 2012




The rain lashed down again but this time with a vengeance. Quinner looked up tentatively from inside his now wet and soggy blue sleeping bag that was doing it’s best to get even soggier by the second and mumbled incoherently to no-one in particular. He had fashioned his stash of ripped brown cardboard boxes into careful long strips a few hours previously and placed them in a doorway next to one of the many Spar shops that now populated the city and set up camp for the night. Closing time was the worst time for Quinner and for the many other lost souls that found themselves at the behest and mercy of Dublin’s mean streets. It was one thing having to deal with a serious opiate addiction I.e. Heroin/papaver somniferum, (‘the poppy which brings sleep’) and then to have to constantly fend off the unwarranted verbal and very often physical abuse from some of the city’s, nay country’s upstanding citizens. There was a certain irony in all of this thought Quinner‘. Here he was in his 35th year- 15 of which had been spent in a drug induced haze either on the streets or in the bosom of some of our finest penal institutions-and he was being attacked by his fellow countrymen and women who all seemed to be in that very same drug induced haze, albeit on the weekend. The difference was that most of them went home to sleep it off and managed get up on Monday morning to pay their dues to the man.

Cars, buses, and taxi’s zipped by in a flash and splash of muddy petrol soaked rain which more often than not made it’s way on to Quinner’s skeletal frame. Their headlights flashed and danced upon his pock-marked face bathing it in a rusty yellow fluorescent glow not unlike the colour of his skin. He climbed out of the now soaked through sleeping bag and positioned himself outside the Spar which just happened to be opposite a busy set of traffic lights. This ensured Quinner that a steady stream of people passed him by at regular intervals to whom he would utter in a mantra like nasal tone ‘’any spare change please’’. It also seemed to elicit an interesting set of responses from the public depending on what sort of mood they were in. In general people passed him by giving him a wide berth while others would give him life threatening stares and others still would call him a ‘’lazy cunt or junkie scumbag’’ But in amongst the sea of nameless faces that entered and just as quickly exited Quinners shattered existence there was always one gem, usually a woman. Her conscience piqued by the sight of this poor pathetic Hepatitis ridden individual would be enough for her to offer a brief intervention. For that’s what it was, no more, no less. Quinner knew more often than not that people like her would feel guilty, but by rendering some sort of christian alms toward a fellow human being they would somehow appease their own conscience and shortcomings, ‘’Still, he thought, might get a few bob for a turn on or some soup‘’.

The turn on was the single, and without a shadow of a doubt, most important thing in Quinners existence. He robbed and beat, his way to jail for his habit. It was his master and he was its most loyal servant, a slave to the needle. But in recent weeks Quinner was beginning to weary of his errant ways. He had had these thoughts many times before, usually when he was strung out and hadn’t enough money to score. Then he would feel sorry for himself and want to die. Quinner was dead already although he couldn’t see it yet, he was too wrapped up in the moment.

The cramps in his stomach began to throb and the snot and mucus ran freely from his scabbed up nostrils. His once healthy body was now emaciated and covered in weeping track marks, a result of plunging, searching spikes that sought out his already punctured, ruptured veins. Even though the rain had stopped and there was a bitter chill in the air Quinner was sweating profusely. He hadn’t had a turn on in 6 hours and he needed to have one every 4 hours to keep the cold turkey at bay.

Crowds were milling by in a blur. Car horns were blaring. The ra ta tat sound that the traffic lights made letting people know it was safe to cross was doing its best to drive him crazy. Ra ta tat, ra ta tat, ra, ta tat. It seemed to go on forever. His head was pounding, muscle spasms in his legs kicking in. Ra, ta tat, ra, ta tat, ra, ta tat. He had the overwhelming desire to throw up but there was nothing there only dry reaches. This time he said to himself ‘I really want to get me shit together and get off these fuckin streets‘.

The tears began to well up in his distant pinhead eyes when into his blurred vision came the precious stone that he’d been waiting for. His long awaited gem. She knelt down beside him close enough for him to smell her indistinct but probably expensive perfume. ‘Not for her the tarted up bottles from the shelves of cheap department stores’, he thought, she was from another planet, or at the very least somewhere close by that probably had, like her, a touch of class. His thoughts were quickly interrupted by the feel of money being discreetly thrust into his greasy, filthy palm. Not just any old money mind you but the all important paper money. Coins were okay and appreciated but it was a lot easier to hide a few notes between the cheeks of ones arse for safekeeping than a handful of copper.



All too quickly she vanished into the chilly night without as much as a word, leaving behind her aroma, a forced smile, and a 50 euros note in Quinners now clenched fist. All thoughts and feelings of sickness and mortality were soon forgotten as Quinner hobbled briskly up the mean and un-friendly streets to seek a rendevous with one of the many street dealers that plied their trade in full view just like an open market. If you looked the part they would approach you offering their wares like an illegal shopping list. Before he handed over his salvation he promised himself that he would definitely get his act together before it was too late. It started to rain again.

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