He tried opening his eyes but the light stung his retinas. For a minute all he could see was overblown white. When his surroundings came to it was like being born again into another life. Like being killed and brought up to heaven, or baptized Christian without the good feeling afterward. Everything he remembered from one day ago was replaced with vague fragments. He was in a living room. He could tell that much. Except the room was in shambles. The couch was overturned; black burn marks were permanently stained to the cushions. The carpets were yellow and smelled like ammonia. He knew it was piss because he was lying on the ground with his head practically buried in it. When he lifted his head he could see the room in its entirety, or what was left of it. It was a hotel room. It was a cheap hotel room. Cans of beer littered the ground, and a wet puddle leaked across the torn up carpet. He could hear the faint sound of overflowing water, but it was hard to make out where it was coming from with the intense buzzing happening inside his head. What the fuck did you do last night, Harry? More importantly where the fuck are you?
Harry brought himself to his feet and was happy to find himself clothed and surprisingly nimble. There was none of the aches and pains that usually accompanied him with his weekend, hell, week long bingers. He was relieved to find his wallet in his back pocket and his phone sitting on what used to be the hotel coffee table. Five messages from Paul. Three unknown numbers. Great, what’s Paul going to say about this one? Harry thought. He’s always on your case. Bitching about the drinking, the parties, the girls, the guys, the drugs…
The drugs. Who knows which ones you did last night?
His head was spinning. He couldn’t call Paul quite yet. His tongue was dry and a bad taste hung to his mouth. He coughed up blood and guessed it was because of the cocaine. He couldn’t remember if he did any last night, but he had been coughing up blood for well over a month, and it wasn’t because of the cigarettes. That he knew. Harry stumbled to the fridge and pulled out a beer. He cracked it and took a long lick. His eyes closed shut, but in short relief. He could still see the light of the room penetrating his eyelids. The water was still running in the bathroom. It wasn’t his head after all.
How much are they going to charge you for this? How much money was even left in the account? There was the Maserati, the rental in Malibu, the quaint shack he bought his mom for Christmas. Paul usually handled all of this stuff, Harry thought out loud. I just need to sneak out of here before—
Harry opened his eyes and landscaped the room once more. He could see it now. It definitely wasn’t his imagination. Water was running in large quantities from the crack of the bathroom door. He put the beer down and walked across the room gingerly, not because he was in pain, because he suddenly realized he was finally in a mess he couldn’t clean up. The carpet beneath him was a Florida marsh. If he were on the second story it would have soaked all the way through. He opened the bathroom door and a pungent smell punched him in the face. All of the bathroom lights were on. The body of a naked girl sat in the tub lifeless, water collapsing over the side of her, a rigormortis look of satisfaction forever plastered onto her blue face. A needle was still sticking out of her arm, bruised, and tied off with a rubber band.
Harry immediately threw up his beer and whatever drugs he was using the night before into the stained bathroom sink. He didn’t want to look at the tub, he wanted to pretend like it was an illusion, like he was on LSD again, but the water spilling to the ground was a constant reminder that there was a dead woman three feet to the left of him. He took a deep breath and forced himself to the tub. He grabbed the nearest hand towel he could find, stained yellow in unknown bodily fluids, and turned the faucet off. The water still came down in slight drips.
Harry tightened the faucet and looked into the girl’s face. She was barely a teenager. Bloody snot ran from her lip, but she seemed at peace with it. Like nothing in the world could bother her now. Pieces of the night started to come back to him. There was more than just her. There was a group. But who brought the heroin? I bet it was that shit show, Liz. Harry thought. That bitch has been a pain in my ass long enough. That bitch and this poor girl…
Harry’s pocket started vibrating violently. It was his phone. Lo and behold Paul’s name was on the front screen. “Give me a fucking break, Paul”, Harry spoke out loud. He opened the phone with his eyes still cornered towards the floating heroin addict, her right arm draped over the side of the bathtub. Your managers can’t save you this time, Harry thought. Kiss your record deal goodbye, big boy. That hit you wanted to go Platinum. Maybe you can hear it from a prison cell. You know, in between the ass rape.
“Hello, can you hear me?” Paul’s voice asked through the phone. “Harry, where the hell have you been? I’ve been trying to get a hold of you since Thursday.”
Harry closed the shower curtain to hide the corpse. He couldn’t speak to Paul with the girl’s dead gaze still staring at the ceiling in ecstasy.
“Paul, I think I’m in trouble.”
“Jesus Christ Har, What the fuck did you do this time?”
“I don’t remember doing anything. Fuck man, the night—its pieces!”
“Harry, are you even listening to me? You’ve been gone since Thursday, brother. Where the fuck are you?”
“I’m in a bad bad spot man. A bad spot.”
“What happened?” Paul whispered through the speakers.
“I– I’m not—“
Harry thought back. As far as he could. Has he really been gone since Thursday? What the hell was the label going to think? They’re going to kick you to the curb you sack of shit. They’re going to leave you to the sharks. Big money has no time for you. Paul has no more patience for your shit. He told you before. Get. Your. Act. Together.
Get your act together, Harry thought. There has to be something. Anything. He’s not capable of—He’s a victim.
“I’m a victim” – Harry finally said out loud, not knowing if he believed it.
“Har, What are you talking about?” Paul whispered again.
“I’m in a bad spot, man.”
Harry looked over at the closed off shower curtain, black chipped fingernails extended just past the plastic, and water was still dripping over the edges of the bathtub. It was gathering in a puddle right under his feet. He shivered and put the phone as close to his lips as possible, as if to hide his voice from the dead girl next to him.
“I think– God dammit. I think I killed a woman last night.” Harry spoke into the phone. “Well, not killed. What do they call it? An accessory. I might be an accessory to murder. I don’t know what to do. I just found her lying here. I think it was Liz, Paul. I think it was her and her friends. They brought the drugs. They always bring the fucking drugs. I know you told me to can her. Kick her to the curb. I know you’ve been telling me for months, but fuck man; I’m in a bad spot here. A really bad spot.”
“Fuckin’ Chist, did she take drugs? You can’t be an accessory if someone just took a bunch of drugs.”
“It’s not that… She was a teenager, man. Fuck, it looks like she’s pushing fifteen...”
Harry waited but nothing was reciprocated on the other line.
“Paul, did you hear me? I don’t know what to do. She was just lying there. I don’t even remember what happened. I’m a victim too. You know I’m not capable—Paul?
For the first time in a year Paul wasn’t there. All Harry heard was dial tone…