And In The Beginning, There Were No Judgments

The act of writing is deeply personal. The words flow from the writer’s head, placed on paper or typed on a screen, only to be held close to the writer’s heart for fear of societal judgment of their most personal thoughts. If a reader studies the works of an author, they can see into the writer’s soul, exposing good and bad. And typically, writers don’t want to be judged; they wish to create or share, to teach others or heal themselves.

The author of A Million Little Pieces wrote about his personal experiences in a riveting book, only to be crucified when it was discovered that some of the stories were expanded beyond his experiences into a fictional realm. So a writer must take care to hold themselves close in their writing. Don’t expose much, don’t expand the stories to seem likable, don’t reveal the multifaceted factors of a person’s character that cause the person to go from a likable character to a relatable character. People are drawn to Melanie Hamilton and appalled with Scarlett O’Hara because identifying with Scarlett forces the reader to identify characteristics of their own that are unlikable.

In writing about personal experiences, a writer will water down the relatable characteristics to seem more likable, to escape persecution of their wrong doings. But what if an autobiographical author told the truth? Could a reader grow to like the unlikable character and accept that everyone, including themselves, is completely flawed? Or will they close the book and judge the writer as they ready themselves to commit their own flawed acts?

Chasing the Dragon

Her freshly shaved legs were sticky with sweat as she uncrossed them. She wiped the moisture from between her thighs before recrossing her legs and leaning further over the bar to catch the bartender’s gaze.

“Uno mas, por favor.”

She gestured to the nearly empty glass of tequila with remnants of chunky salt around the edge. The bartender nodded and stopped wiping the bar top with his largely unclean towel and set to making her drink.

“Another one, eh?”

The gentleman next to her teased his hand down her sticky thigh as she grinned at him. Pulling his hand up to her mouth, she placed his fingertips to her lips and lightly licked away the salt that had come from her thighs.

“Yes, Daddy, if that’s okay.”

“Of course, baby girl, have as many as you like.”

She blushed at his response and placed his hand back on her thigh. The bartender watched them in approval. From the corner of her eye, she noticed an older couple watching them from the corner of the small hotel bar. The gentleman was scowling at her and the lady winked.

“We make people uncomfortable.”

“Do you care?”

“Only because I know their sex lives must be terrible.”

“Most people’s are.”

The bartender placed the fresh drink in front of her as she drained the last of her first drink. The lone ice cube dropped into her mouth and she rolled it around, feeling it melt cooly on her tongue, before she crunched the cube to nothing.

“Would you like to feel my cold mouth on your cock, Daddy?”

“Don’t tease me. You just got a new drink.”

“So you don’t want me to drop to my knees under the bar and service you the way you deserve to be serviced?”

Her eyes teased him and he glared at her. She broke the gaze and sighed.

“I guess I’ll just service myself.”

“Stop. I’m not sure the fuddy duddies in the corner would approve.”

“I don’t care what people think, remember?”

“You’ll care when you’re in Mexican jail for sucking a guy off under a bar.”

“Oh come on, don’t be lame.”

“I’m not lame. You’re not dressed for Mexican prison.”

His hand slide further up her dress.

“You’d get cold. And they would have a field day with you.”

His hand didn’t stop. He reached her panties and pushed them aside before she swatted his hand away.

“Daddy, stop!”

“You’re blushing again.”

She looked thoughtfully at him while she took a long drink of tequila.

“I want to get into some debauchery.”

“Not mayhem?”

“I’m not sure if I’m ready for mayhem. But sometimes I feel so cooped up that I want to scream. I know that sounds like some rich white girl problem but I feel the need to experience something and do something bad to experience it. Have you never wanted to cause some trouble and see if you can survive it? To push yourself to the limits to see the world from a different view?”

“Constantly. And I’ve done it. I’ve gotten really lucky.”

“So have I, so far. But that feeling, of pushing the limits of pain and trouble, breaking the law, possibly experiencing stories that can never be told, that feeling never goes away. It’s always in the back of my mind, sometimes growing louder and louder until I can’t hear anything but the desire to see what can happen.”

“You know you can’t live like this.”

“You have.”

“Like I said, I’ve gotten lucky and experienced stuff and come out of it relatively unscathed. You have so much to live for, so much yet to come that is good, that you can’t throw it away on random nights of debauchery.”

She fell silent in deep thought while he gestured the bartender for the check.

“Come on, let’s get you home.”

“But-“

“No butts.”

He stood up and swatted her ass before he threw a few hundred pesos down on the bar. Smoldering, she hopped down and drained her drink again. They left the bar, his arm around her shoulder, and began walking back to the car. The sound of live music filled the streets and she began to skip in the direction of the guitar.

“It’s a live band! Let’s go watch!”

Hesitating, he watched her skip towards the sound, spinning around occasionally to grin at him.

“I don’t think so.”

“Come on, Daddy, please?”

“Fine. But remember, this isn’t America. Be aware of your surroundings. Someone would love to scoop up the drunk white girl and take an organ.”

“Maybe that’s what I want.”

“Then we won’t go in.”

“I’m joking! Come on, please?”

“Okay.”

“What organ would they take anyway?”

“Kidneys.”

“I’m fine with them taking one. Maybe someone needs it.”

He rolled his eyes as they approached the small cafe turned night club. Large men at the door were collecting a small cover charge and she suddenly stopped and twirled back around to him.

“Wait, I don’t have my ID.”

“Baby girl, it’s Mexico. They do not care.”

Sure enough, the “club” had a mixture of men and women of all ages. One very white boy of about sixteen was nervously grabbing a beer from the bartender while eyeing the voluptuous and beautiful local women as they danced and swayed their hips to the songs emitting from the men on the small stage.

“This is crazy.”

She eyed the boy in awe as he awkwardly and openly gazed at the women.

“I’m going to go dance.”

“I’ll be here, watching you.”

She grinned at him and threw a flirty eye over her shoulder as she sashayed away from him onto the dance floor. Immediately, she befriended a group of women who pushed beers into her hands and spun her in circles as the Spanish songs played. The mix of Spanish and English between the white girl and the locals was enough to make everyone giggle happily at the breakdown of cultural barriers.

Beer after beer after beer was drank. The moment she emptied one, another was pressed into her hand by the local women. The club became more and more packed as young people from miles away came to dance their Saturday night away with cheap beer and loud songs.

She didn’t notice the circle of men who stood immediately behind the dancing women. She was surprised when she was pulled outside the dancing circle by her lover, who informed her that cocaine had begun to be exchanged by some of the men.

“Oooo cocaine. I’ve always wanted to try cocaine.”

He rolled his eyes.

“Just be careful. I’m still watching.”

“Unfortunately.”

“What?”

“Nothing!”

She grinned and broke back into the circle of dancing amid loud cheers. The drinks kept flowing and the music got louder.

There were a few ex-pats in the room, dancing with the dark haired local beauties. She exchanged a few words with them before going back to dancing. The ex-pats were not interested in talking to another American. She ignored them as she was ignored.

But she wasn’t ignored by all. She didn’t notice the Mexican men pushing closer to her in a wall that cut off her boyfriend. The beers had begun to gain hold of her brain and her world began to spin. She reached out an arm and was grasped around the waist by a smiling man who led her out of the room and down a dark hallway. She was glad to be out of the loud and smoky cafe. The thought of her boyfriend flitted through her mind briefly before she was ushered into a small room filled with hazy air. The man eased her into a place on the floor and offered her a long and thinly stemmed pipe.

“What is this?”

He smiled and nodded, gesturing the pipe closer to her mouth. The language barrier was too much to navigate this drunk so she shrugged and placed her mouth on the pipe. With a deep inhale, the drug filled her lungs and the heat spread from her mouth to her toes and out of the top of her head. Time slowed down and time expanded outwards, seeming to push her body into the room. She felt full and complete as the heroin acted like light, filling every dark place she had inside of her.

The man gestured again for her to puff.


The local newspapers didn’t report on the death. There was only talk between street merchants of a gringo who caused a fight in the local club and had been arrested for assaulting several men. The locals laughed when they walked by the jail and heard his yells.

“Stupid American. This is our country.”