The Prince of Intoxications

Photograph by Jose Padua
Sometimes when I’m driving around my small town
in my mini-van I like to listen to Desmond Dekker’s
“The Israelites,” and as if I were a character in an
old Gus van Sant film, I pretend that my goal for
the day is to score some drugs. I have never spent
much time trying to score drugs. Usually if a friend
had some and was sharing them, I’d partake, but
now if they have some to share, I decline, which isn’t
to say that a lot of my friends are still sharing drugs
because they’re not. But this also isn’t to say that
they’re not still doing drugs because I think they all are—
which is how they tolerate my many indiscretions and
obfuscations of fact—it’s just that they no longer
share them. So I continue driving through town
in my mini-van, leaning back, my arm hanging
out the window like I’m cool, pretending this
family vehicle is really a beat-up old sedan with
stolen license plates, and knowing that as soon
as he’s old enough my four-year old son sitting
in the back will snitch on me and that I’ll respond
by saying, “Yes, yes, my boy’s giving it to you
straight. I did all that.” Because after all he is my son,
and although I am a grifter at heart, for me blood
runs deeper than any drug, longer than any high,
and I’m raising him to always speak the truth.

-Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua

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