There is a rather cliched phrase that states that some people live double lives. I have always found that to be an intensely misleading statement and I guess you can call it a bit of a pet peeve of mine. No one leads "double lives", they just lead fucking lives. That those lives are more complex that the singular one-track existence of lesser creatures shouldn't be a matter of duplicity, but of common sense. No one is exactly who they seem to be.
Julio is one of those who they would later say lived a double life, but it is no more true for him than anyone else. The difference in this case is that there are two of him, rather than one.
Perhaps it was a development caused by his utter mediocrity. Everything from his mind to his personality to his face was completely average. Even his name is forgettable, and elicits annoying references to schoolyards and outdated musical classics.
It was in this space of utter pointlessness that I was born. I started out as a craving for something more and I grew and grew. I fed on his ambitions and I gave him some much-needed confidence, even if that certainly was false. I rebuilt him into a character and I led him to seek those little bits of comfort to soothe away the pains of his life.
I guess you could call me an addiction – or that is what the doctors called me the first time he landed himself in the hospital with an overdose and a dozen track marks – but I have a name. I am Julio. I am more Julio than he is, and I have set him on every path of life he stepped on since the moment I began to seduce his will.
What makes it so delicious is that over time he began to act on his own and I would just push him along. A little nudge here and there, an assurance or a craving. But he came up with all of the main ideas himself.
Today is another example of my influence, but with one minor shift in the routine: he has really fucked up this time.
I had been watching them fighting through the window of his mind, looking through his eyes. He was shaky and desperate, needing a hit and needing it bad. It was the first stirring of a withdrawal that I think he and I both knew he couldn't survive. Or at least that he didn't want to try.
Alvarro was more sympathetic than most of the dealers that slung the hard stuff. Maybe that had to do with the fact that he and Julio have been friends for so long, or guilt because he was the one who shot him up for the first time. Whatever it was, he seemed to have a blind spot when it came to his buddy.
More than once he had given hits – or even hooked him up for days at a time – on the promise that he would get him the money. In the beginning Julio was good for it and always managed to get him the cash. But that was before I really moved in and put my mark on the place. Lately, he wasn't good for much more than stealing and pissing himself.
I had always wondered what straw would break the camel's back, and it turned out that it was the monkey on Julio's. Not only had he stolen a number of items from Alvarro's prima a few days before to pawn, but he had taken that money to his friend for his usual juice.
Well, this little act of treachery and audacity appeared to be too much for the put-upon dealer to take. The fight had been intense and every second fought sparked tempers to hotter and hotter flames. By the time it had become physical I had honestly expected that Julio would be killed. Not that that meant much to me...I had been leading him to his death for years, and it seemed just as fitting that the reason be homicide as by one of his numerous overdoses.
But now, looking out through Julio's manic gaze at the bloody knife in his hand and his long-time friend gurgling wetly on the ground before him, I have to admit that I am surprised. I have always had quite a grip on the young man but I never would have expected him capable of murder.
Of course, you might say that he hasn't murdered yet; Alvarro is still breathing, albeit not very well, and his waxen face is horrified but alert. Yet, I am positive that Julio will not risk taking the responsibility by calling an ambulance and – yes, there he goes! He is tearing the place apart now, looking for the drugs and whatever money he can find.
He keeps glancing back; the poor man looks absolutely agonized. It is no wonder... Alvarro's breathing is getting even more labored and he is making some horrible sounds. He is moving but just barely. He doesn't seem to have much strength left in him.
Yes, that's right, Julio, keep searching. Ah, and so you found it! Good boy. Never mind him, he is already gone; the life is leaving his eyes. He should never have confronted you in the first place; he should have just given you what you wanted. After all, you have done much for him in the past and you would have paid him back.
Now, just relax and do what you need to. Nothing can bring him back now and you wouldn't want his death to be for nothing, would you? There you are, tie the tubing tight... don't let your shaking hands ruin your chance. The needle is pressing in now, doesn't it feel good? Doesn't it feel right?
That's better. There is nothing left to do but get out of there. Put on his coat, that's right; hide the blood. Don't forget the drugs, you will need them later. Trust me.