The boy was glad to be in the car, but he wasn’t happy. They were traveling but the trips weren’t bringing him much pleasure. A lot of attractive sights passed by, but he wasn’t really seeing them like he did before.
Every now and then he’d recall the fear in the eyes of grocery store clerks, the pleadings of the old lady, the ashen face of the girl on the sidewalk. Or he’d see again his home and family and long for the good old days. Then he’d hang his head in despair. His companion didn’t seem to notice or care.
One evening the boy sat up and looked around in surprise as the car entered the darkest tunnel he’d ever seen. Man, this place was awful! As the blackness surrounded them on three sides he wished the car would fly through and be out into the light again. But partway through the tunnel the driver stopped.
“Hey, what are you doing?” the boys said. “Let’s move on and get out of this creepy place.”
“I been thinking, kid, that I’m getting tired of you. You’re no fun anymore. I’m going to find someone more interesting to ride with.”
“Yeah. Hey, I’m sorry. But…” the boy started to tremble.
“Not here! It’s so black. Please don’t make me get out here!”
“Yes, here. Now.”
“Mister, I’m sorry,” the boy whined. “Give me another chance. Or if you want, you can let me out as soon as we come into the light again, but please don’t leave me in this horrible place. I’ll never find my way out.”
“No, you never will. Now get out,” the man ordered.
“What do you mean? Please, Mister, have a little mercy.”
“I don’t do mercy. Tough luck, kid. Goodbye.” Then Cruncher growled, grabbed his shoulder and gave him a rough shaking. He knew he had to obey. Slowly he opened the car door and stepped into the blackness.
Behind him he heard the driver’s cruel laugh, then the man said to his dog, “He’s all yours, Cruncher.”
“Mister. Please!” the boy shouted, but the car drove away.
Welcome to the “happy ever after” of a drug addict.
Please don’t go there.
Why I Wrote This Story
When I was in my early teens, girls were just getting into smoking. The “wild” girls smoked and drank, so if you wanted to make an impression on those ones, of course you’d want to as well. And I did want to be “cool” like the others. But…
Around that time the evidence was piling up and various literature was being circulated on the health risks related to smoking. One day I saw a picture of a smoker’s lungs, black with tar. Black as the asphalt the road construction crew was spreading in front of our home.
Yes, I wanted to be “with it” and blow smoke rings to impress some of my friends, but that picture stopped me. No way did I want my lungs to ever look like that. Years later I’ve heard friends describe the crushing power of nicotine addiction; I’ve seen friends and family struggle long and hard to be free. It doesn’t look so “cool” farther down the road.
Now I’ve tried to draw a picture of drug addiction as I’ve seen it played out in many lives and read about in news articles. I haven’t fudged much; I’ve painted it pretty black.
Nobody who starts out experimenting with addictive substances expects such an end, but drugs drag a lot of pretty – and smart – teens into the pits. Perhaps one of our most helpful revelations is that we are not “too smart” to end up in a pile of rags on some street corner. If our mind would be open to that possibility, we’d avoid a lot of pitfalls – and have more sympathy for the ones we see there.
If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know this story is way out in left field from where I usually go. I prefer upbeat and humorous, but I’ve written this just the way it came to me: a graphic illustration of addiction. If I’ve followed the wrong inspiration and taken you on an unnecessarily awful ride, I sincerely apologize. On the other hand, if someone thinks twice about the temptations they are facing – if this story stops one person from getting into that car – I’ll feel it was worthwhile.
But I hate this ending. I’ll post an Epilogue shortly, because even in the blackest tunnels there is still hope. There are rescue squads. I hope this story inspires you to be part of one.