Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

Akashic Books

||| |||

News & Features » September 2013 » “Glitterless Game-town” by Timber Masterson

“Glitterless Game-town” by Timber Masterson

Thursdaze (because the weekend won’t come fast enough) features original flash fiction modeled after our Drug Chronicles Series. Each story is an original one, and each encapsulates the author’s fictional experience with drugs. Our print series has anthologized authors writing about marijuanacocainespeed, and heroin, but contributors to the web series can focus on any drug, real or imagined, controlled or prescribed, illegal or soon-to-be legalized. Submissions to Thursdaze will be judged on an author’s ability to stylistically emulate his or her substance of choice. Submissions are also limited to 750 words, so try to focus. (They have a pill for that.)

This week, Timber Masterson explores the havoc heroin can wreak in less than half a day. 

Timber MastersonGlitterless Game-town
by Timber Masterson

You tell yourself you have a handle on it, that it’s not so bad. You catch yourself looking down at that once-precious, bleeding, now-scarring arm—blisters reddening, rotting boughs hemorrhaging, far from on the mend, things swelling where they shouldn’t. And those twitches you have . . . you remember a time when they weren’t part of the package. Always such excitement with those speedballs working long hours on my system: the getting, so long after the waiting, then the preparing and the shooting up; then the oncoming fierce and racy feeling; the mixed mortar morphing into something special; my soul stirring with that loquacious liquid melted down from sticky brown tar and off-white powder; the cooked-up sparkling bubbles that had their own running agenda, gearing up in the spoon to take another shot at racing around my heart, veins, body and mind to dictate where I’d land for the night, what I’d be seeing maybe for the last time—every time I did it. There were lots of last times.

There were some shaky close calls, like that grey-haired, badly-burned guy who helped me on more than one occasion, his echo remnant of a beat-up, un-musical frowning Ray Charles: him hanging on for life from my car door, half in/half out; me attempting to flee the scene; him screaming, “Motha fucka! What the fuck ya think you doin’, white-boy!?” Ten seconds was all it took to get my four-cylinder lawnmower-of-motion-sickness up to the necessary Mach speed to jettison all hangers-on back to their appropriate curb seating. My streetwise colleague, finally dropped off; and me waving goodbye, and with a quickly-invented English accent offering, “So long there, Geeves,” though not knowing quite who I was imitating, but, there was an idea simmering that he’d come up again, and would have to be dealt with. Later.

When I wasn’t punching The Drug Clock or doing The Twelve Step, I had a ton of time to conceptualize quirky, jazzed-up plotlines for what was going down. My unemployability, at a standstill for years—almost impressive, my real position—being accountable to a whole new realm of narcissism plagued by indecision and low self-esteem, along with my recently purchased, infinite forms of self-deception—plus, (!) currently, The Seven Deadly Sins I wholeheartedly embraced, disappointed when I couldn’t pull off at least five of those puppies off in a day. This became both the real goal and ultimately the real disappointment.

“Got Greed, that’s a constant. Certainly Sloth is taking shape; Lust kind of comes and goes . . . hey, man, what are those other ones . . . ?”

The rays shooting down beat me into submission and far from qualified me from being in the light, so dispirited, a sick psyche lost in astral carousing. Beaming memories and rusty images shot at me of Muskoka Lake cottages, smiling summer girls, swimming pools and tennis courts and love, miles behind and getting tougher to place, suspicious as to if they occurred at all. There was genuine love somewhere; I still have pictures and slides of friends and family that sure made it look that way.

“Let me see, so, there’s Taste, Sight, um . . . isn’t there one that starts with an ‘R’? Guys?” Those out-of-touch senses now ordered to fall in line, to jitterbug beyond the type of life they were built for, all commanded by heroin. Sensuality, all the things I longed for, and once in a great while even felt with others, now fragmented and stitched together in the backseat of the roller coaster I’d been flying around on with crappy cheap sutures and uninsured Medicare I’d no doubt have to repay; mixed with the multiple times I’d thrown myself at the mercy of emergency rooms too busy and too involved to be bothered with my unglamorous suicidal cries, sending me right back out the automated doors. But not before I indulged in a number of jaundiced banana pudding cups and was awarded a good talking-to by a number of unfestive, dazed and confused pre-med students on their own dizzying rounds. They showered me with gifts upon arrival: a fuzzy maroon robe and blue pajamas with no back to speak of—my ass exposed for no reason I could fathom—and those comedic, pointless paper slippers; but they made me give it all back and sent me packing, out to battle, with a bill to be paid and my words barely intact. I drove around the next couple hours, trying to resist the pull of that handy turn into oncoming traffic.

And all this before noon.


TIMBER MASTERSON is an ex pat – which means he’d loved to be patted on the back by his ex; this, in all likelihood, will never happen. He’s an American AND a Canadian citizen who’s been awarded a Toronto and Ontario Arts Council Grant towards his next project, a compilation of published essays and stories, “A Bizarre But Entertaining Life I Seem To Have Survived: Truths From The Dementia Cul De Sac,” He’s also snagged roles on The Firm, My Babysitter’s A Vampire TV series and History Chanel’s Perfect Storms. When Mr. Masterson isn’t donating his imaginative talents and off-the-cuff, heartfelt missives to online journals like Akashic Books, Roadside Fiction and Bitchin’ Kitsch, he’s probably in a town near you playing tennis, reading Foster Wallace and Jonathan Flynn out on the back porch and getting to all the yard sales incredibly early. You can read more of Tim’s ordeals, concerns and writings at http://www.timbermedia.com/.


Do you have a story you’d like us to consider for online publication in the Thursdaze flash fiction series? Here are the submission terms and guidelines:

—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your submission should never have been published elsewhere.
—Your story should feature a drug, any drug, and your character’s experience with it. We’ll consider everything from caffeine to opium, and look forward to stories ranging from casual use to addiction to recovery. Stylistically, we’ll respond most favorable to stories that capture the mood and rhythm of your drug of choice.
—Include your drug of choice next to your byline.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—E-mail your submission to info@akashicbooks.com, and include THURSDAZE in the subject line. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.


About the Drug Chronicles Series: Inspired by the ongoing international success of the city-based Akashic Noir Series,Akashic created the Drug Chronicles Series. The anthologies in the series feature original short stories from acclaimed authors, each of whom focuses on their fictional experience with the title drug. Current releases in the series include The Speed Chronicles (Sherman Alexie, William T. Vollmann, Megan Abbott, James Franco, Beth Lisick, Tao Lin, etc.), The Cocaine Chronicles (Lee Child, Laura Lippman, etc.), The Heroin Chronicles (Eric Bogosian, Jerry StahlLydia Lunch, etc.), and The Marijuana Chronicles (Joyce Carol Oates, Lee Child, Linda Yablonsky, etc.).

Posted: Sep 5, 2013

Category: Original Fiction, Thursdaze | Tags: , , ,