Hallucinating gravely (but routinely), J descended the ashgrey steps from which he early had inhaled part of the powder that was to blame for the crayon-bright echoing spirits which assailed him. Above and behind him, the “in” from which he has departed, there sounds the muffled cheer of a party in full swing, peopled with friends, strangers and shadowy comatose shapes who could have been either he supposed. The council flat’s ashgrey stone steps were not clean, nor perhaps had ever been in recent memory or even living, certainly all those he’d left in the warmth and din inside had tramped up them bare minimum once this very evening. But the relative deficiencies of the step as a suitable surface for the preparation of substances planned for internal use was a point whose clout with J was currently quite small. In his present jaded frame had it been freshly presented to him as an element in a testimonial to his adopted and manifest degradation it would not have toppled his heart to caring. All this despite the obvious unevenness of his states (physical & mental with myriad subdivisions) and his poor sense of balance (physical - eardrum fluid pressure, hammeranvilstirrup) even when unintoxicated, (which of late was rare), J considered with an impassive face, noticing coolly the cool night air, the fitting piss reek of the lifts nearby. Turning sharply down the last flight he sees an inlit car, hears its motor’s judder, watches the soft white plumes of exhaust ascending heavenwwards. All this and more, indeed: he sees ghostly columns, ruined arches, ancient cities of fictional origin, indirectly, ambiguous and blurred. His mind’s eye’s crude REM twitching, half-sight of nictitating wake-dreamed visions, apocryphal shades drawn on his taut, retinacanvas by his drug-shot brain, macule frail and still as wideeyed butterflywings; blurred wingbeat of waking dreams. J treads the gravel in an unstraight line, weaving slightly, to the waiting cab, he leans down and into the window’s maw, checks with spastictongue that this is indeed his cab, and open the backleft door with a firm tug, shivering hand and a worry's seed. Now out of the outside and still inclined to shut his eyes so heavy have their lids become, J boredly observes his mind's gaudy shadows dance upon the misted pane and beyond free against the charcoal coverlet of clouds; the cab pulls away, beads jangle, a radio is turned on, crassly pop throngs jubilantly about. Head resting upon the nightcold glass J observes his chauffeur; Turkish/Cypriot, late forties, stutter lit by the staggered streetlamps. A scarburst darkly hid upon his further neckside, grimly pink in brightening and cooling to obscurity in tremulous streetlit pulses. J averts his fascinated peepers, tired, sobering, blasted thoughtless, soft palate powderburnt to rawness. Ratlike calculator weighs the past week's excess, hatefully begrudging gonehim his waste now futurehim is birthing. Too much, pointless, consumed needlessly. Wish i hadn't. Still, some is some is some. And then? I am punctured and never often full. J sighs, rubs his eyes unabsentmindedly. Outside London is blackly wet, the city's lights echoed in a thousand puddles, a thousand rivulets, ripples and waves, memory sifts, haltingly then and now. Hands flutter over pockets; his phone is safe, wallet yes, bag? did i bring one? safe i hope anyway. A highstreet, Chinese restaurants, a bridge, greenlanes? Ki will be mad; kind rules broken, generous to a blemish, that blemish being i. The cab speeds on, the passenger’s eyes flutter then drift shut, his clotting breath whitens the window, fadingly, on each exhale. And beneath the frigid stars and moon it seems to him (though fumbleskulled) his path is stoneset in the broken ground.