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Nothing, quite like the Truth “I thought I told you to stop calling me man. I don‟t have anything, I‟m clean.” I had to keep a very even tone throughout this conversation. A spike in my voice levels would immediately convince the party on the opposite end of the line that I was lying. That I was still addicted and happy. That is the one thing people always base their judgement of addiction on. “Are these people happy with the kind of lives they‟re leading? Are they so tired of life that they want to be aberrations who indulge in substances that distort your perception of reality all the time? What these so called moralists and theorists and behavioural analysts and whatnot miss is the fact that no addict hates himself for fucking up his life. He will always blame the drug for doing it to him. Psychological scarring caused by any substance, even nicotine, is irreversible. My case is a little more complicated. I‟m addicted to Nothing. When they started making Nothing, people were shocked. They couldn‟t comprehend the magnitude of this achievement. Scientists had actually succeeded in creating a void that could move in space time and just.., not exist. It wouldn‟t do anything, because it wouldn‟t be there. Because it‟s Nothing. It was several decades later though, that the use of Nothing as a narcotic substance was discovered. My grandpa belonged to the first generation of Nothing addicts, and when my Nothing addiction was exposed, people had begun wondering if there was an element of a genetic predisposition. The Nothing gene, the gene that doesn‟t exist. Biologists are apparently hard at work to find this gene using existential arguments. Several papers have been published in this area, all of which end up saying effectively nothing, which is, as we all now know, a tautology. A tautology is also a carrier for the Nothing gene, according to a more recent paper by a linguistics professor at the Berlin Institute Of Nothing Studies(BIONS). Since this was where most of the finest metaphysicians who were working on combating the Nothing plague came from. You‟re wondering how I‟m writing all this, and if my views are to be trusted just like any other crack or meth junkie. But though Nothing does distort reality, it does so in infinitesimal amounts, and you don‟t actually begin to appreciate the absurdity of the chain of events till a very later stage. Oh, I forgot to tell you about the Nothing plague. Initially when it was made, it was impossible to find a way to control and encapsulate Nothing, and Nothing spread like wildfire from one person to another, leaving behind a trail of „useless‟ junkies. Metaphysicians soon came up with a way to trap Nothing in certain logical arguments as infinities. Nothing could now be stored safely and consumed in dosages specified by the order of infinity resulting in the argument it was trapped in. Which now made it a snob drug. Ordinary people who would earlier die in pleasure from Nothing overdose were now unaffected by it, since it couldn‟t

penetrate their thick skulls in such a form. Nothing was legal, but the sale was regulated and heavily taxed. However, as it is with any heavily regulated substance, cheaper alternatives always emerge. Street grade Nothing was often highly unstable, but it provided the stimulation one needed, and was a lot cheaper. The results of an overdose would probably be a minor outbreak of Nothing infection that would spread to at least ten odd people who last interacted with you. Such an outbreak could be easily monitored and covered up, which is why the government didn‟t give too much of a crap about the Nothing Mafia. The Nothing Mafia were a pretty peaceful bunch in spite of their apparently violent sounding name, and was usually comprised of well to do, stable individuals who‟d mastered the art of manufacturing and trapping Nothing on small scales. Most of these amateurs were Nothing junkies who after having consumed such enormous quantities of it, would figure out a way to make it on their own. And once you figured it out(much like activating a switch in your brain that only you can manage, or a highly trained hypnotist) it was the easiest thing in the world to make it, though trapping it required some technical knowhow. When I‟d started off with Nothing use, I wasn‟t too interested in making it. It was cheap and easily available, and I didn‟t want to risk getting my friends killed. But slowly, I started getting more adventurous and enterprising. I was smarter than the average smart, I took precautions. Surely I could do it. Initially, I didn‟t have any trouble…my progression from one stage to another of the learning process was smooth and peaceful. But then, once I was making almost industrial grade Nothing with apparent ease, I was struck with an idea. I would mix something in it to increase it‟s potency, something that would go undetected amongst the Nothing(itself being a similar nonexistent concept that still was widely accepted by most conscious beings as highly probable) and grab me a fair share of the market. I would mix in some Truth. Truth, as most Nothing junkies wouldn‟t know anything about, is another thing altogether. Truth junkies and Nothing junkies are worlds apart. Truth junkies concentrate on increasing the focus on reality, seeing the finest movements, catching the tiniest of transitions. It‟s a different ball game altogether. Truth has an interesting history of its own, which I shall concisely narrate. Its synthesis, interestingly, is very similar to the synthesis of Nothing, except that it‟s a lot more prone to decay with time, unlike Nothing, which is very stable. It was initially tested on soldiers during battle exercises. Though they reported an increased development in their overall metabolism and speed of thought and action, their personalities soon degraded due to overuse and led to hysteria and other dissociative disorders. And unlike Nothing, Truth is far more frowned upon and aggressively dealt with, which makes the Truth junkies and the Truth mafia a very violent bunch. Not someone you‟d want to deal with without lots of firepower and muscle. Truth is easier to handle and is much more

stable and harmless unless ingested. It was a perfect drug for criminals and psychopaths, and unlike Nothing, whose effects on society are much more dilute and infrequent, it‟s effects are a lot more direct. And I was going to try speedballing the two. Go me. It took me about six weeks, but I managed it. My first batch was dosage ∞3, and I decided to try it on the nearest person. Myself. I almost died. The trip was the best I‟d ever had though. I‟d tried some Truth before, but didn‟t like it as much. This was entirely new and a lot more intense than the individual components. At the end of it, I had chopped off a toenail and had written an alternate derivation for the founding principle of Nothing dynamics with my own blood. It was so elegant, I nearly cried (a bit from the pain too). I had a hard time explaining the incident to the doctor, who eyed me suspiciously when I told him my fabricated version of the story, but he somehow decided not to be a complete jackass and fixed me up and let me go. But as happens with every such story, though I started getting more and more customers and orders, I was ratted out and arrested. Expelled from college without a degree, I spent my rehab thinking of what I‟d do after getting out. All of my cash had gone into getting a lawyer who got me rehab instead of jail, so I didn‟t have the average Nothing dealer‟s luxury of spending the rest of his quiet life on a far away farm counting sheep. He discreetly paid off some lab staff who were told to change the reports to avoid the mention of Truth in their analysis, since that going to the State would be the end of the line for me. And so it was that I was back to society, cured of my insatiable desire for a mix of Nothing and Truth. Which is why, when I repeated my line after waiting and thinking all that out for ten seconds or so, I really meant it when I said “I‟m clean as a whistle.” I really am. Which is why I‟m also sure this nosebleed isn‟t indicative of any kind of overdose, since I‟ve consumed Nothing in the first place. It‟s the Truth, you know. In the end, the Truth is going to kill you.