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Science Fiction, Adam Fout, Frost — First 500 words


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Call it freeze. Call it rime. Call it glacier.
Call it frost.
Call it icebomb.
Call it death.
That’s all it is.
It’s the drug of the 21st century.
It’s the drug I can’t escape.
One thing everyone knows about icebombers.
Never trust a word they say.

#

I’m in a government-funded oven called Hope’s Place. Been here for three weeks. When I got in, the intake coordinator told me, “Axel, the average stay is a year and a half, but given your history, you’re looking at more like three.”
“I don’t give a shit,” I’d said. “I just want off.”
I did then.
I’m not so sure now.
It’s like two parallel trains of thought in my fucked up head.
In one, all I want is to get sober.
In another, all I want is to get fucked up.
I’m 38.
I have no idea how much longer I can keep this shit up.
I have no idea if I’m gonna be able to stay in this fucker.
It takes a year to get off freeze. It’s got a detox that makes heroin look like nothin. They fill you full of Librium for the first six months to make sure your GABA receptors don’t send you into seizures. First week here, a guy missed his doses on purpose. Seizure was so bad he went braindead. ’Nother chick’s permafried from three seizures in a row. Bit her tongue in half on the third. Covered the TV room with blood.
I take my Librium.
Somethin about that Librium though.
Don’t quite feel like a benzo’s supposed to.
I done a lotta benzo’s in my day. Xanax, Valium, Ativan.
I know what the fuck it’s supposed to feel like.
This shit feels… off.
This whole place.
It just feels off.
Like a dream.
Second thing they do is pump antidepressants into you until you get serotonin syndrome. Only way to get your core temperature up high enough you don’t freeze to death. Before they had ovens, used to be icebombers would freeze in sixty degree weather comin off the shit. I seen a couple rime addicts frozen solid in an alleyway in the middle of Dallas summer—almost seventy degrees outside—on account of not gettin their dose. That was back when the glaciers were still in Ohio, back when freeze was just another drug, back when no one gave a shit about junkies or methheads or alkys or icebombers dyin in the Dallas streets.
I take Parnate and Prozac the way they tell me to.
Ovens are mazes designed to keep addicts in and the public out, but you pay close attention, and you can figure ’em out. I walked through the hallways from the psychiatrist to the medical doc to the cafeteria and back ten times at least.
I think I got the place mapped out.
I think I could escape if I wanted to.
But do I want to?
I don’t fuckin know.

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