BULLETS TO THE SKY – Part II

The king still reigns

 

A narrow alley on one of the neighborhood's less frequented edges is one of the places where the gang gathers during the day to answer the call of the drug that claims their vassalage, relentless and insatiable. The beast has to be fed, it cannot wait until the evening, or it will take revenge on its hosts inflicting pain and disorienting them until they can no longer bear its absence.

For them it is nothing more than a trip to a world where they seek refuge, where time seems to stand still, and where their lives do not have to be lived in dark alleys. But no, in fact everything is ruled by the drug that has definitively installed itself in the most hidden corners of their brains. It is the drug that holds the keys to the gates of this supposed paradise and beckons them in a macabre way, luring them into a dark journey. A journey that in reality has no return, towards an ever deeper and darker hole.

As the drug takes hold of their fragile minds, tensions within the gang grow and physical confrontations become more frequent. Dubabulo has few lucid moments during the day, he hallucinates more and more with successive doses of “speedy balls”, and his reactions are increasingly unpredictable and violent. He cannot tolerate being contradicted or questioned by the other gang members.

Lano has begun to frequent the house, he is one of the dealers who regularly supplies the gang with drugs. His arrival brought some generosity in sharing the drugs he usually sells. “Liamba" and "speedy balls" now abound in the house and Lano quickly became very popular in the group. This has triggered a kind of challenge to Dubabulo's leadership, who has had to show who's boss in the group and in the house. He quickly became involved in an unequal fight with Lano. Stronger and more resistant to the effect of the drug, he easily dominated Lano and forced him to almost kneel before him, in a submission gesture with a clear message to the gang.

LP, the oldest of the gang and the one who headed it before Dubabulo claimed his place as a kind of king, recognizes an opportunity in the confusion installed to attempt to regain the throne and simulates a friendly approach to the gang leader. The two smoke “liamba” while embraced in a strange game, where the line between joking and openly declaring struggle becomes increasingly blurred. But just like many other strategists who underestimated their opponent, LP went to war weakened. Still barely healed from debilitating malaria and heavily weakened by a powerful cocktail of alcohol and “liamba”, he was also quickly dominated by Dubabulo. 

He is the undisputed king and his kingdom is this house, a kind of jail where the drug has imprisoned them all.

The penalty for LP's coup attempt is his summary expulsion from the house. Weakened and with torn clothes, LP is dragged out into the street by Dubabulo's acolytes. Perhaps he will be accepted back into the gang and return to the house, but he knows the price he will have to pay. More than the ticket to the world that everyone is looking for in this house, he will have to pay a much greater price: in addition to obediently responding to the sinister call of the drug, he will have to bow before the king who still reigns.