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Articles tagged "Addiction"

The Shakes

Now I have to get the fourth glass down me before I can operate. I mean, the fourth glass, filled to the brim, full of the amber stuff. Yes, now I drink the amber, Scotch. Because of my liver, you know. Why should I try to kid you, we go back a long way, and just between you and me, you're my best friend, you rallied to the cause, you're a great colleague. I went for some liver function tests, and things aren't looking too bright. Anyway, since they let me back into the Health...

from A Walk in the Dark

1 You never quit smoking. You give up for a while. Days, months, years. But you never quit completely. Cigarettes are always there, lying in wait. Sometimes they appear in the middle of a dream, even five or ten years after you've "quit." You feel the touch of the paper on your fingers, you hear the soft, dull, reassuring noise it makes when you tap it on your desk, you feel the touch of the ochre filter on your lips, you hear the scrape of the match and you see the yellow flame...

Shooq

Translator's note: Shooq means "longing" and is also a woman's given name. Following custom, Shooq's mother and father are referred to in the story by the honorifics Umm Shooq and Abu Shooq (Mother/Father of Shooq) respectively. It's a wide street, and short, and anyone who enters it feels out of place there. There are no signs of life except for the old houses on either side, and the earth mound at the end seems to mark the end of the world. Leaving it you find...

The Flies and the Web

I go back to the "hole." I haven't stopped thinking about it since the first time I went there. I want to slip myself into that crack in the wall, find out what they do in there, how they spend their time, what they talk about, what a life of starvation and ugliness is made of, where they get the strength to go on hoping. The unconscious? The unwittingly religious or fatalistic acceptance of the life they've been given? The deferred gratification typical of dreamers?...

Garbage

Chokora. Garbage. Now I know why they call them that. They are of the same color as the street, a noncolor, one that time, wear and tear leave on things like an indelible patina, a distilled filth, that amalgamates and stains hands, heads, shoes. They are walking rags. Their bodies are coated with layers of filth, they are lost, emaciated, rachitic, inside their shapeless jackets, beat-up overcoats, sweatshirts that the passage of days and months have totally faded into oneness with the...

Third Letter to Uncle Sam

31 Laxmi Mansions Hall Road, Lahore 15 March 1954 Dear Uncle, Greetings, I write this after a long break. The fact is that I was ill. According to our poetic tradition, the treatment for illness lies in what is called the elixir of joy served by a slender temptress straight out of the quatrains of Omar Khayyam from a long-necked crystal jug. However, I think that is all poetry. Not to speak of comely cupbearers, one can't even find an ugly servant boy with a mustache to play...

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