Tito was talking to Jesus the other day. Nothing new there. Tito talked to Jesus a lot. Especially these days, now that Tito was trying like hell to kick crystal meth.

“Jesus, take this demon from me. I can’t do this shit no more. Please. I gotta stop. In Jesus’ name I pray,” he would say, or some variation on that theme.

He could put together two or three clean days in a row and that was about it. Then he was off to see his connect or anyone who was holding and wanted to party. It wasn’t even fun anymore. It pretty much skipped the fun train and danced right off to psychosis land within the first two hours now. That used to take days. He was headed off the cliff and he knew it.

He didn’t have a job. He didn’t need one. He was young and pretty. In the back of his mind he knew that shit wasn’t going to last. He would, now and again, see his future self out there on the street at night. Long, greazy hair. Sores. Meth mouth. Wasn’t anyone gonna pay for that shit. How the hell those guys got by he didn’t know and didn’t want to think about.

So Tito talked to Jesus. And the other day Jesus answered. That was the new part. Tito was two days off his last run or he would’ve just assumed that he was having a psychotic episode. It didn’t feel anything like that, though. It felt different than anything he’d ever experienced. It felt like pure goodness.

“Yes, Tito. I’m here,” Jesus said.

To hear a voice in his head, one that didn’t feel like his own, that wasn’t unfamiliar. It was the quality of it this time. That’s what got him. There was a feeling like if the ocean could talk and you could hear how old and deep it was. That’s what it was like.

“Jesus, is that really you?” Tito asked the voice.


“Can you, can you give me a sign?”

“I could. I won’t, though. You wouldn’t understand but that’s a terrible idea and the consequences would be universe changing. Let’s just say I don’t work that way."

“I believe in you,” Tito said.

“I know.”

“Please help me.”

“I will. Are you listening?”


“You can’t do that stuff anymore.”

Tito waited for the rest. There was just silence. “I know that. But I can’t stop.”

“That’s not true,” Jesus said. “You stop all the time. You just change your mind when the craving hits you.”

“Yeah, but, I mean ... I don’t know what else to do to make it go away.”

“There are two ways to silence a craving. Feed it every time it barks, or starve it to death. That means you hear the craving and you don’t listen. After a while, it stops talking.”

“It ain’t that simple,” Tito said. “I mean, I’m sorry, no disrespect.”

“There are two things you need to learn. Just two. How not to use and how not to need to use. To do the first you just listen to this direction. Don’t ever take the first hit. Get yourself back into a fellowship of people like you who have already stopped and call them instead. And help someone else instead. Regardless of what your head is telling you. That’s how not to use. Will you do that? Are you willing?”

“I, I don’t know. What’s the other thing? How not to need it.”

“You behave like an honest, kind, caring, unselfish person who is willing to take life’s blows, and you make amends for the harm you’ve done. You pay your debts and then you stop generating so much suffering through your own unwise actions. You learn to live a life you don’t have to run away from. That’s it. That’s all there is.”

Tito started to cry. Not out of joy or relief, but because he knew he wasn’t going to do those things. He’d expected or at least hoped for a miracle. That shit wasn’t a miracle. That was the same crap, almost word for word, that his sponsor told him during his brief stint in Crystal Meth Anonymous. It was suspiciously familiar, in fact.

“I understand,” Jesus said. “Most do not have ears to hear. But you will one day. Unless I see you before then. It’s all up to you.”

Tito choked down an impulse to say something truly nasty. Then he laughed and told himself that if he was hearing voices when he was clean, then he was surely fucked for good and all. And he called his connect.

But before the guy answered, Tito hung up. Then he looked up his old sponsor's number.

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