the first initial of my real name is j. when i was a junkie and hiding out at TRUE's college and inching further and further out on the lonely limb of addiction (a branch which had but one shaky leaf left), all the kids called me LL Cool J cuz that's what i was: The Ladies' Love, Cool J. even when everything else was fucked, i still had my skills. i'm not trying to boast, i'm just telling it like it is. TRUE would come back to her room and find random shit lying around...keys...ID cards...a feather boa...an antique, engraved silver cigarette holder...a single sandal. "What!" she exclaimed, holding the boa out in front of her with two fingers, "Do women come in here and their clothes just fall off them?"

with her debilitating shyness, TRUE thought that I had it made...

"it's easy for you. everyone loves you...everyone wants to be your friend..."

"yeaaah," i told her, turning the narcotic steadiness of my gaze upon the blue smoke funneling up from my cigarette.

"the problem is i sleep with my friends and im friends with the people i want to sleep with."

(i was so high, i could have stacked one brutal, personal truth on top of another, pleasant as pancakes.)

"hmmm. maybe it's cuz you're dyslexic," she offered.

"yeaaah, maybe..." i said, turning onto my side and feeling the universe shift dramatically as i did.

once, the well-meaning dad of a kid whose car I "borrowed" and subsequently crashed into a wooden fence post on a deserted farm road, asked me if I took drugs because they helped me to not face my problems.

"no," i said.

was it because i thought that taking them would help me fit in with the other kids?

"nope." if anything, being in orbit all the time made it impossible to parse the intricate network of school politics and cliques, even if i had wanted to.

was i sad? was i angry? was i bored?

no. no. nope.

"why then," he wanted to know...he was desperate for the answer in a way i wasn't used to seeing in adults, not real-life ones at any rate...he was wringing his hands and staring at me with such intensity that i sat up and attempted to focus and give it to him straight.

"i get high cuz it feels good, man. that's it. i like it. there ain't nothin more to it."


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