Let us consider the impending end of the War on (some) Drugs, that is, the availability of drugs considered to be pleasurable according to some peoples' ideas. I can think of some objections, and at least one from a very strange angle: junkies "on the Program", that is being "maintained" on methadone or LAAM.

Let's say we allow people to take opiates, according to their wish and penchant. We tax them. At the same time, methadone maintienence programs will most probably suffer, since opiate prices will first, drop through the floor, then skyrocket once tax dollars kick in. (Do we have cigarette maintenance programs for the people who would otherwise prostitute themselves for a smoke?)

He took her to the woods

He had been checking her out for some time. She wasn't exactly beautiful, but he found she had a sparkle in her smile and a twinkle in her eye, and she looked like she smelled of summer and sunshine. He kept wondering how her mouth would feel, her lips against his. How her skin would feel on his. He had had a strong urge to hurry up and get her alone somewhere, but he had maintained his cool. It never paid to rush things and ultimately ruin everything. He would sit by a table at the inn where she worked, smiling to her now and then; staying close but not too obviously so. Enjoying the sunny little hamlet and its nice inhabitants like a good tourist while going over, again and again in his mind, how good it would be.

And now, finally, his patience had paid off. They had struck up conversation, he had been allowed to buy her more than a few drinks, and now he had even managed to let him walk her home. It cost him a lot of effort to stay relaxed and casual. Her hand under his arm was warm and soft, her breath on his neck whenever she turned her face towards him to speak, was sweet and smelled faintly of wine and mints. As they walked her golden, fragrant hair brushed against his cheek and neck repeatedly, as if it had a life of its own.

Ambling carelessly along they left the inn and the houses behind. She lived outside town, and she kept repeating that he really didn't have to walk her home.

"I'll be perfectly safe, you know. I grew up in these woods."

He smiled. "Well, It's a lovely evening," he said. "I'll enjoy the walk."

And she hugged his arm a little closer and giggled. "Okay then. If you are sure."

The woods that lined the road looked inviting, and he needed to get her in there. He spotted some bright, white flowers almost glowing in the dusk, and stopped, pointing.

"Will you look at those?" he said, pulling her playfully along across the shallow ditch that separated the road from the edge of the forest. "Let me pick some for you."

She laughed and followed him willingly. He could hardly believe it would be this easy. Shooting a quick glance up and down the road to make sure no one was in sight he pulled her with him under the shade of the trees. The feeling of sweet success made his blood pound in his ears, almost drowning out the sound of her voice. He looked down at her.

"You realise this could be very dangerous," she said, leaning into him, adding in a theatrical whisper: "They say there's a monster in these woods."

He laughed.

"I know. Let's see if we can bring it out."

She gave him a big, cheeky smile. "You don't want that," she said. "It'd be a really bad idea."

They continued a little bit farther away from the road, and when he deemed it safe to stop, he did so. He pulled her to him and started kissing her neck and shoulders. She wriggled.

"You don't want to do that!" she protested. He laughed again. "Oh, but I do," he mumbled into her shoulder. "You have no idea...!"

He pushed her down on the soft ground under the trees, shaking and aching with excitement. Her body under his body was firm, and her wrists in his hands were slender. He looked down on her face in the flickering twilight. She was still smiling ever so slightly. His head was buzzing with the rush of blood and lust. He would make her stop smiling. He didn't want them smiling.

"The monster is here!" he said with a voice that was little more than a hoarse whisper.

"I know," she said softly.

He moved to release her one wrist, meaning to unbutton - or perhaps tear open - her thin summer dress. But his hand wouldn't budge. Puzzled he tried again, but with the same result. When he looked it seemed to him that his hands were almost covered with roots or vines. Like tendrils bursting from her smooth skinned arms, crawling across his wrists, disappearing up his sleeves. Confused, still too high on adrenaline to be frightened he met her gaze. Her hair moved around her face on its own accord, dipping into the mossy ground or rising up, reaching for his face. He recoiled and began to struggle to let go. She was laughing under her breath now, arching up and pressing herself against him.

His legs felt like they were caught in vices, being slowly crushed and mangled, and something was biting and pulling on the skin of his chest, tearing his shirt open. He let out a cry of pain and terror.

"What are you doing?! It hurts like..."

"Mmmmmm...", she said. "Isn't this what you wanted?"

"WHAT? No, it hurts. Stop it!"

Her hair kept reaching up, and he couldn't escape it. It entwined itself in his hair, pulling his face towards hers. He whimpered with fear, and then screamed again when his shirt was ripped from his back, seemingly taking chunks of flesh with it.

"But you said you wanted to bring out the monster," she whispered. Her breath smelled like warm blood now. Blood and earth. And death.

"Noooo... no," he sobbed, fighting madly to break her crushing embrace, but accomplishing nothing. He felt liquid running down his face as her hair dug its way into his scalp. She caught drops of his blood on her tongue, and smiled again.

Some time later, the sun's last gold giving in to the dark blue of night, the birds that had been spooked out of their trees by the screams came back to rest. The woods went back to being quiet and still, except for a girl adjusting her slightly messy clothing before walking home alone.

For March of the Monsters

Romantic dinners framed in rest stop food courts
Canvas umbrellas shield the rain from concrete tables.
Ordering two happy meals with coffee
(because technically it is morning already)
and leaving the toys on the bench, still wrapped,
huddled together like ponchoed tourists.

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