The future? It begins with the meaning of profanity. In the beginning was the word and the word was profane. Take the term substance abuse, for example. Some Christians no doubt believe that substance abuse is profane: you know, the body is a temple of God?

JJ and Billy the Pill have been awake for days searching for the meaning of profanity. Now they’re down to their last fragments of pills, combing the trash for roaches and skimming the bags for powder residue.

While Billy’s in the john, JJ scrapes together enough powder for a line and surreptitiously ingests it.

‘It’s stage 5 in the countdown to the end of the world,’ he tells Billy on his return.

Billy says:

‘I want to email everyone I know and tell them how much I love them.’

Now, Billy’s not known as ‘the Pill’ for no reason. You see, he’s been a user so long the only people he knows are dealers and connections.

JJ tells him:

‘Are you mad? It’s the end of the world.’

‘Mmm,’ Billy replies, ‘so you think I shoudn’t bother?’

‘Do what you like, man. It’s the end of the world.’

Billy thinks for a moment then says:

‘But what if nothing happens, you know, what if the world doesn’t end and we all wake up tomorrow and everything’s still here?’


‘Well, all those people that I emailed would know how much I love them…’

‘Mmm,’ JJ says, gathering up the rest of the pill fragments and hiding them in an empty Marlboro packet, ‘I guess then we’ll have to start counting down again…’

That’s what I love about substance abuse, the virtuous circularity.