(The first version of The White Rabbit was actually a story I wrote to a friend over text message while I was bored. I decided to keep it, and it now has been absorbed into a larger piece that I am working on now. This is the original version)
The White Rabbit is selling mollies at half price in the girl’s bathroom, and I happen to have a pocket full of ten dollar bills.
I run inside, trying to dodge this guy who just spotted me on the street. He sees me and says hello, giving me a couple of good eye fucks, for good measure. He begs me to let him eat me out, telling me it’ll be the best I’ve ever had, that I will see stars, that I will fall in love, like there is such a thing, and even though I don’t doubt his skills, still I hesitate.
Men offer me cock everyday, that’s nothing new, but they get so busy pitching me some sort of scenario, some sort of mental movie where I’m the star, that they never bother to ask me what I like, or worse, keep talking after I’ve already said no.
For this, the drugs help.
Hell the drugs help with a lot, to be honest. Like my mother always said, “When in doubt, trust vodka!” Only I prefer feel-good drugs like Molly and Mary Jane and the occasional hallucinogenic trip.
The bathroom is decorated like some Shanghai opium den, even though its part of an office building that distributes the kind of grammar test that discriminates so you don’t have to, with coded questions about sailing and stock quotes that don’t apply to people who grew up eating rice and fried eggs for dinner.
During the day frustrated businesswomen come here to masturbate, popping one off on their lunch breaks, thinking no one is the wiser when the truth is you can feel the release of stress, the wave of warmth and peace flowing down the halls, so if you find yourself on Eight Avenue and suddenly, unexpectedly, feel a massive wave of relaxation, say thank you.
I find The White Rabbit standing in front of the mirrors cutting a line. He’s standing at an angle that lets him see almost all of the bathroom, especially the door, and I’m sure he could hear me before I walked in the door, probably could already smell my perfume.
When you’re in this line of work it pays to have a healthy dose of paranoia, and he has it in spades.
A long time ago I used to call him The Magician until he asked me to stop because it was too obvious. Now I call him The White Rabbit because I follow him anywhere he goes.
He asks me what I want.
I smile at that a little. It’s a little game we play; he always asks me what I want, its his way of saying hello.But asking me what I want differs depending on the day, sometimes even the time.
What do I want?
I don’t fucking know half the time. What DO I want? Biologically? Existentially? What do I want to eat? Asking what I want is as loaded of a question as asking a Muslim woman her opinions on organized religion. We could be here all day.
“What do I want,” I ask out loud. “I’m not quite sure.”
He gives me a sideways glance and snorts a line like a pro. Then asks me, “well, how do you want to feel?”
“Happy,” I respond immediately.
He looks at me, chocking back a cough and rubbing his nose. “What else?” He asks in a clouded voice.
It takes me a second, but then I reply, “at peace”.
He nods, like he’s waiting for a cue.
“What else,” he asks a final time and this time I answer honestly, in a whisper, but he hears me loud and clear:
“I want to feel loved.”
He smiles at me widely. It’s like watching a very sharp knife reflect the sunlight, and it sends a cold shiver down my spine.
It occurs to me that I know very little about this man, aside from the fact that he sells the best drugs in town. He could be dangerous. Hell, he could be a killer. But before I go into a full panic I realize that I’m relatively safe.
After all, I’m a paying customer. I’m worth more alive than dead.
I look at him again and the smile is gone, and I tell myself that I imagined it.
Yes, I tell myself. Forget that you were afraid. Good girls don’t panic, I tell myself. And when all else fails, smile and repress.
Smile and repress.
He turns to his bag. I think he’s going into the usual Molly pocket but he decides against it and goes into an even smaller pocket inside and pulls out a small, shiny ball.
“Here,” he says. “I’ve been saving this one for you.”
And places it in the palm of my hand with a level of delicacy that I don’t often see him display.
Once in the years I’ve done business with him I got too drunk, couldn’t even say my name straight, and he instructed one of his many drivers to take me home safely, in the same tone an army general might
instruct his troops to bring the enemy back alive or else, and not only did I get home safely, but someone assembled and set the timer to the espresso machine I had bought weeks before but forgot about, so
that I woke up to a clean kitchen and the most perfect latte I’ve ever had.
I examine the ball and realize its really a piece of chocolate.
“Its a truffle,” I say, confused.
“Its much more than that,” he replies.
I peel the wrapper off. “Its milk chocolate.” I say.
He snorts a little but doesn’t reply.
Finally I ask, ” What does it do?”
He smiles again, only warmly this time, calmly, like a predator having to explain himself to the prey, and simply says, “everything you want.”
I shrug, accepting that this is the best explanation I’m going to get.
He knows what he’s doing, and its not like I discriminate against mind altering drugs.
Still, I reserve the right to know a few things, like, is this going to kill me? I examine the small ball of chocolate for any skulls or warnings, not really expecting any.
I try not to think about the fact that I’m essentially taking candy from strangers.
That I have no idea what I’m getting into, and that I’m eating in a public bathroom, and I pop the truffle into my mouth anyways.
The chocolate shell is thin. It breaks in half in my mouth with the slightest pressure and floods my mouth with cold, cherry flavored liquid.
I throw him a look.
Its a common rule among women to warn each other when there’s a cherry cordial afoot. He could’ve warned me, but its not like understands the basics of chocolate etiquette, so I let it go and chew.
My tongue already feels numb, although I’m sure I’m imagining it, and as I swallow, the cold radiates down my throat and through my chest.The cold doesn’t go away like I expect it to. Instead it grows. It flows down my fingertips and my toes. Even my calves are chilly, and I’m shaking with energy and adrenaline.
“Thy drugs are quick,” I mutter, but I’m not even sure if the words ever make it out of my mouth.
Instead I feel myself sinking down into this couch in a public bathroom, not sure where I’m going but happy nonetheless, and as I look at The White Rabbit one last time I think, down the rabbit hole I go...