I was in my imagination the other day when I saw a kid hanging upside down from a ladder. The kid was hanging upside down on the top rung of the ladder that was on top of the tallest building in our city. Tall as the communications antennae, used by the local TV station.

Should I stop and help this kid out?

Oh man, so much to be so much do, I thought. I could be on my way to Madison Square Gardens with my name in Lights.


I turned to take a second look. Then the view changed and I could see where he was stuck, where his ankle at the “Achilles’ Heal” had wandered around the hook under the last rung of the ladder. Or was it the first rung of the ladder. That depends on which way you look at it.

He was probably this rich kid who had everything and now was dumb enough to try this. Serves him right. Or was it that poor kid, who tried everything to reach the top, but made a mistake.

What does poor mean, poor in character or money. What does rich mean, rich in money or something else? I thought for a while.

Then I felt a tug again, but this time I felt it in my heart, not on my sleeve like I did the first time.

“Hurry before it’s too late.” The soft but urgent voice came over the lines of my conscience.

Then it won’t matter whether rich or poor. A kid is a kid.

Okay, okay, I will do something about this. I turned west of my trajectory and hovered around the kid that was hanging upside down on the top rung of the ladder that was on top of the tallest building in the city. Tall as the communications antennae, used by the local TV station.

“Hi, let me help you.” I said.

He did not resist as I put my arms under his armpits and fluttered up a little. That took the pull off his weak point and he by bending his knee, released himself.

“Wow, thanks a bunch.” He exclaimed.

With his eyes somewhat down, he said: “I’m sorry I wasted some of your time.”

He said: “I too was in my imagination thinking about what I could become in future when I got distracted by drugs. I tried cocaine. Do you have a minute while I describe what happened? Maybe it will be a lesson to others of vivid imagination to understand and not try it.”

“Go ahead, tell it.” I said.

He began his story by describing how he attached an imaginary string to the cocaine crystals. A lifeline.  It could be pulled by a well intentioned someone if he was going in too deep.

So he thought.

“I did not know, but the crystals were etched with the monogram of ancient civilizations. The meaning of the designs I did not understand. Neither was the intent, purpose, or constitution of it comprehended. Some claim to be able to decipher it, but only when in a state of euphoria.”

He continued: “I sniffed.”

“Into the cavity it went and attached itself to the wall of my nose. That’s okay I thought, it could rest awhile. But my knowledge of biology was wrong. It began to burrow into the soft tissue. Before long it was in my blood stream clinging to the cells for the free ride to my brain.”

“Cool! I thought.”

“No, crazy; should be the appropriate response.”

“Time was of the essence. Move now or forever hold thy peace. What? Where did that phrase come from? It is speak now or forever rest in peace. No, it’s: hold thy peace. It didn’t matter and even if it did, now was not the time to dwell on the origins of phrases.”

“Now was the time to save you from a self-inflicted act of nonsense. Doing drugs you think can be okay for you, but if you were a child of imagination you would have come to the conclusion that any invasion of the body by an outside entity would be taking a risk.”

“Here was God’s image and likeness sending an unknown craft into a space that had been explored by some but not by this well intention you. You, who wanted to be somebody, a missionary to the outer corners of the world, but now you are attempting to be the recluse in the limits of your mind.”

“As I pulled on the lifeline I turned upside down and did not know which way was up. I did not know what was right or wrong. Decisions, about family, decision about school, and so many other things to decide.”

“Then you passed by on the same road. I saw you and I heard you singing that song about being number one. You know the one that’s number one in the charts. I hoped you would help and you did.”

“Can we work together in our imaginations?” The kid asked.

“No, we better work together in reality. Drugs are a real problem!” I said.

Published by Ken Gwira

Ken Gwira is a self-taught artist living in the USA. Aside from wood sculpture, he uses words and images to help people see life through a different lens [o].

2 thoughts on “Cocaine

    1. Thank you for noticing Becca. Okay, “in our imaginations”. I found myself having a dialogue in my mind with this kid. As kids would do, he followed my example to try and solve the problem of drugs just by thinking about it. I therefor stopped, having realised that drugs are real. Any issue associated with drug use, has to be solved by “real” flesh and blood solutions.

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