Frankenstein In Central Square (Part One & Two)


They call me the Troll. I’m sitting here in the 1369 Coffee House on Mass Ave in Central Square. My guts feel a bit ropey. I ran out of junk a few hours ago and sent Moshe Dean out to find Ar Lain Ta. I’m so down that I’m contemplating rolling across the street and going into the Can Tab Lounge for a drink.

That’s real depression. I hate the alcohol buzz so much that when I think of drinking, what it really means is that I am suicidal. In the dark.

When the dark comes it can come so quick that it takes your breath away. Which is the whole objective around what comes next. When it comes like that I really want to get some good dope.

Very good dope. Maybe some junk that will kick in the dreaming dark.

Overdose. If I’m lucky, but how many junkies are really lucky, over the news there will be a warning, a public announcement of sorts. It will say “In South Boston today four heroin addicts were found dead, the needle still inserted in their arms. 19 other heroin addicts were treated at various local hospitals for overdose. Reports are still coming in. All addicts are warned not to buy or shoot the bag stamped with the name “Butter” due to the lethal nature of its contents. It is estimated to be close to 90% pure.”

Which translates — to any serious junkie (and what junkie isn’t) — go get it boys and girls, it’s the best shit in town.

And we do.

Like grease on a mission we slither out of the crashpads, the suburban candy-lands where we live with our denial-coated parents who sit glued to the tv (maybe they’re both at aerobics class), from the luxury apartments paid for by trust-funds or our dotty.com companies. Maybe we leave our wives(husbands) or boyfriends(girlfriends to sell the coke or weed that pays for our dope habits. We creep out of our SRO’s, those cockroach-laden hideaways made possible by twinkle-toothed slumlords, the wet and dry shelters, the Salvation Army (maybe we need a fix just to get through their God-awful religion classes that they jam down our bile-coated throats as the price of a cot and a hot), and all the other castle-keeps we stay in — and like a skulk of foxes we skitter into South Boston looking for the final fix.

The overdose. It can come gentle, just a greying around the edges of the picture frame of reality, a closing circle of grey just like the cheap fade-out of a grade D celluloid made for the loops in a handjob saloon disguised with the name — Smitty’s Adult Movies, Books, and Toys XXXX.

Maybe you press the plunger down on the overused disposable (designed for one use then throwaway) (instead we are the throwaways, the unwanted children, the homeless, PTSD-Schizo-Bipolar-ADD-Sad beyond depression-Can’t fit in anywhere-Can fit in but who wants to-you fit the category, we’ll fill it) we were pressing the plunger down — the barrel of the syringe is filled with the killer dope and you (we) feel the hoof of a powerful hors thump you (us) in the chest and then — the lights go out.

Maybe the scenario is like this: you (we) feel so good, the rush is coming on right now. We pull a cigarette out of the pack, put a flame to the end of it and think — as you suck the smoke in to your blackened lungs — wow. For a change I got a decent bag, maybe my luck (hard luck junkie) is changing, you say to yourself(no one else is listening anyway). You (I mean you) take a drag and as we (all together now) slip the belt off our arm, our knees begin to bend, then buckle and we fall to the floor like a boned bag of water. The cigarette is still burning. It is still between the fingers. If we were still conscious we (you) might feel it blistering the skin.

On the floor now. Shallow breathing, maybe our eyes are open (no lights on). A short time ago we scored a burger from McDonalds and now we aspirate it into our mouths, take another shallow breath and suck the burger (McDonald’s finest) into our windpipe.

Maybe things aren’t going this well for you. For a junkie there are always glitches. Like maybe someone called 911 and they are shooting you up with Narcane. Instant withdrawal. Ugh.

I don’t want to even think about that. Let’s chat about something pleasant. Oh, here comes Reverend Love. “Want a coffee?

Cream, no sugar, right?”

He sits down. I ask him, “What’s up?”

He says, “Get a camera.” Then he picks up his coffee, rises from the seat, and walks away with a smile on his face.

Suddenly the back door opens and Moshe Dean slips in. He hands me two packets stamped “Butter.” Then he says, “That’s all for now. Ar Lain Ta is coming here with the rest.”

I wonder why Ar Lain Ta is coming as I roll into the ladies room to shoot up. As I close the door I see Moshe Dean enter the men’s room. Little did I know that I was soon to meet one of the most misunderstood men of all time.

At the same moment the needle chased my fleeing vein to a showdown on the Erie railroad running down my forearm the monster was crossing the Charles River on a train.

Not a one of us, me, Moshe Dean, Ar Lain Ta, nor the monster knew what was in store for us on this fateful day. But the Rogue — ah, but we’ll get to that, won’t we?

Frankenstein stared out at the Charles River as the Red Line train headed toward Cambridge. With the exception of his left leg his entire body was wracked with pain. It was a sad fact of old age. Unfortunately, there would be no permanent relief brought about by death. God had no control over him. He was a built better product, made to last forever by a madman.

He knew Ar Lain Ta was heading towards the 1369 Coffee House in Central Square. Only the soothing balm of the opiates stilled the stabbing pains that circulated through his scarred body. Frankenstein scratched the scar looping around his neck in the area just below his Adam’s apple.

The old woman sitting across from him, the one clutching her tattered shopping bag stared openly at him. This was not unusual. He was 6′ 5″ on a good day. On the bad ones he was much shorter. Knots of pain whorled his face, appearing to move about, shifting from his cheek to his chin, down to his neck just above the jagged scar he scratched, then up again. At least three of these dark Rorschach blots moved across his facial area at any given time; usually there were as many as five.

At times, during the summer, Frankenstein would take off his shirt and make his way along the asphalt parkway by the Charles, dragging his left leg in an eerie shuffle. People would move away from him quickly, either averting their eyes or staring boorishly at the horrid movement taking place across his back and chest area.

Lines where he had been connected together crisscrossed his body. The tattoo of a demon with the horns of a bull, one eye located in the center of its forehead and a twisted mouth that leaked red droplets of blood with the body of what appeared to be a small headless dog in its hand was the final insult visually hurled at anyone who looked.

Needless to say, with all this to look at one might never notice the needlemarks above the veins on both his arms.

His grotesque body which, unfortunately for Frankenstein, housed a mind possessed of a unique romantic, an idealistic poet and philospher which could not help to realize how alienated and separate from the rest of the world he was had, from nine decades of constant opiate consumption worked itself up into a “jones” which, were it to leap from his body all of a sudden and take the shape of a monkey it could pluck King Kong from the side of the Empire State Building like that great ape was a toy. In other words, old Frankenstein was one strung-out dude.

The train halted and the computer voice, with a proper mid-western accent, announced, “Central Square.”

Frankenstein rose and lurched toward the open door, praying that the escalator was still working. He didn’t know if he could handle the stench of urine in the elevator. He pushed through the turnstile. At least, he thought, I don’t stand out in Central Square. There are so many monsters here that I am just one more freak in the show.

The hum of the escalator was music to his cauliflower ears.

The Troll sat at the table with one eye closed. He watched Moshe Dean’s head bob up and down like a flower in a gentle wind. The smell of a million opium poppies whacked his gnarled nose and he turned his head as Ar Lain Ta slipped in the front door of the coffee house. No one else was aware of his entrance except for two other junkies, a man and a woman who sat midway against the wall. Both of them, once devout Catholics, made the sign of the cross.

Ar Lain Ta nodded to the Troll. The Troll nodded back.

At this moment, outside on the street, the Frankenstein was dragging his left leg past the Spare Change vendor in front of the Fleet Bank. The vendor fell silent as the creature passed him. Their eyes met. Both of them simultaneously nodded to each other, a gesture of respect, acknowledging the fact they were both related. Two dark holes in close proximity to each other in the infinite night.