“Possible Side Effects” by Jerry Stahl (from The Heroin Chronicles)
Bad Penny, She Always Turns Up. That was one of my most popular campaigns, back when the porn business was referred to as Adult Films, not “triple-X content.” Not that I’m a porn guy. I’m not. Anymore. I’m the kind of writer you don’t hear about. The guy who always wanted to be a writer—who read the backs of cereal boxes as a kid—dreamed of being Ernest Hemingway, then grew up and wrote the backs of boxes. You don’t think about the people who write the side effect copy for Abilify or Olestra ads . . . It’s not as easy as you think. You need to decide whether anal leakage goes best before or after suicidal thoughts and dry mouth . . . I take a ribbing from some of the guys (and gals) at the office—which, I have to admit, gets to me. They know I’ve been working on a novel, but it’s been awhile. I guess I should also admit that the heroin helps with some of the shame I feel about writing this stuff. Or life in general. I’m not, like, a junkie-junkie. I use it, I don’t let it use me. And I’m not going to lie, it helps. It’s like, suddenly you have a mommy who loves you. You just have to keep paying her . . .