Jonathan Albert Robertson, who has a bachelors degree in Hospitality Management from Phoenix University, hit bottom professionally last summer when he lost his job as a cashier at the Smithfield Street Adult Book Store. Vying for jobs mucking horse stalls for Pittsburgh's mounted police squad and transporting blood samples for the methadone clinic, he had been too hungover to go to any of his interviews for five days in a row. "They couldn't even lie to my PO," he said. "Fuck those bitches."
It's a story familiar to anyone seeking to land a job that will pay for a mattress and a Fentanyl habit that's just, like recreational, and definitely not a problem. Peter Morrison, 25, who writes poems and stuff and graduated from Antioch College, where he thinks he did an independent study, got a job at the Andy Warhol Museum, where he skulks between poorly curated galleries, sleeping in folding chairs whenever it gets slow.
"I submitted an elaborate exegesis proving that Andy Warhol is the reincarnated spirit of Ptolemy," he said, "but the museum Director just told me that it was an unctuous and supercilious shibboleth."
Which explains how a bunch of them ended up, on a crisp November night, huddled together on the kitchen floor of a Point Breeze apartment just nearing the fourth plateau of a serious trip on dextromethorphan hydrobromide.
It was a nightly opportunity to engage in the nihilistic pursuit of self-effacement in a doomed effort to overcome the inherent suffering of existence, a roving clubhouse of degenerate drug fags self-exiled from reasonable society, more willing to believe that Dick Cheney piloted holographic airplanes into the twin towers than that succor even exists in this untethered world of ash and pain. Fueled by heroin and ketamine scored from some black dude in Lincoln-Larimer, impressive tolerances, and the imperturbable immortality conferred by not giving a fuck, yo, members spend their hours filling the air with talk of the DXM angel, Calsutmoran, the best material for making a tourniquet, and the filmography of Alejandro Jodorowsky.
They've been catching the eye of some dudes who sell drugs at the bar down the street. "I don't know why they're gonna buy from a bunch of nig-nogs," said Marco DiMarco, a well-known bookie with a small business selling stamp bags on the side. "You can't trust 'em. They'll kill you sure as look at you."
"Shut the fuck up, bitch," replied Latasha Wallis, a bartender with a degree from the Fantastic Sam's Beautician Institute and Convenience Store.
"Aw you know I ain't racist," DiMarco laughed.
Young, web-savvy, and too strung out to consider the consequences of their actions, this group of friends blames their own fundamental lack of employability on the flawed character of everyone else in the world. Joe Batlack, who worked as an administrative assistant once, summed it up: "I was just like, fuck you, you can't fire me, I quit."
They envision a kind of Weimar debauchery that will ultimately culminate in an apocalpytic orgy of doom. "I pretty much figure there will be like some kind of conflagration soon anyway," Robertson shrugs. "Fuck it. At least I don't have to fill out a time sheet or whatever."
Morrison was less chipper. "I'll probably be dead by the time I'm 30 anyway. Or else the aliens."