John Hodge

Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed- interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose a three piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing sprit- crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing you last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked-up brats you have spawned to replace yourself. Choose your future. Choose life... But why would I want to do a thing like that?

RENTON: I chose not to choose life: I chose something else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who need reasons when you've got heroin?

RENTON: People think it's all about misery and desperation and death and all that shite, which is not to be ignored, but what they forget is the pleasure of it. Otherwise we wouldn't do it. After all, we're not fucking stupid. At least, we're not that fucking stupid. Take the best orgasm you ever had, multiply it by a thousand and you're still nowhere near it. When you're on junk you have only one worry: scoring. When you're off it you are suddenly obliged to worry about all sorts of other shite. Got no money: can't get pished. Got money: drinking too much. Can't get a bird: no chance of a ride. Got a bird: too much hassle. You have to worry about bills, about food, about some football team that never fucking wins, about human relationships and all the things that really don't matter when you've got a sincere and truthful junk habit.

RENTON: Relinquishing junk. Stage One: preparation. For this you will need: one room which you will not leave; one mattress; tomato soup, ten tins of; mushroom soup, eight tins of, for consumption cold; ice cream, vanilla, one large tub of; Magnesia, Milk of, one bottle; paracetamol; mouth wash; vitamins; mineral water; Lucozade; pornography; one bucket for urine, one for feces, and one for vomitus; one television; and one bottle of Valium, which I have already procured, from my mother, who is, in her own domestic and socially acceptable way, also a drug addict.

RENTON: The down side of coming off junk was that I knew I would need to mix with my friends again in a state of full consciousness. It was awful: they reminded me so much of myself I could hardly bear to look at them. Take Sick Boy, for instance, he came off junk at the same time as me, not because he wanted too, you understand, but just to annoy me, just to show me how easily he could do it, thereby downgrading my own struggle. Sneaky fucker, don't you think? And when all I wanted to do was lie along and feel sorry for myself, he insisted on telling me once again about his unifying theory of life.

MAN 2: You seem eminently suited to this post but I wonder if you could explain the gaps in your employment record?

RENTON: Yes, I can. The truth -- well, the truth is that I've had a long-standing problem with heroin addiction. I've been known to sniff it, smoke it, swallow it, stick it up my arse and inject it into my veins. I've been trying to combat this addiction, but unless you count social security scams and shoplifting, I haven't had a regular job in years. I feel it's important to mention this.

TOMMY: How's it going with Gail?

SPUD: No joy yet.

TOMMY: How long is it?

SPUD: Six weeks.

TOMMY: Six weeks!

SPUD: It's a nightmare. She told me she didn't want our relationship to start on a physical basis as that is how it would be principally defined from then on in.

TOMMY: Where did she come up with that?

SPUD: She read it in Cosmopolitan.

TOMMY: Six weeks and no sex?

SPUD: I've got balls like watermelons, I'm telling you.

TOMMY: Useless motherfucker, that's what she called me. I told her, I'm sorry, but these things happen. Let's put it behind us.

SPUD: That's fair enough.

TOMMY: Yes, but then she finds out I've bought a ticket for Iggy Pop the same night.

SPUD: Went ballistic?

TOMMY: Big time. Absolutely fucking radge. 'It's me or Iggy Pop, time to decide.'

SPUD: So what's it going to be?

TOMMY: Well, I've paid for the ticket.

GAIL: Wake up, Spud, wake up. Sex. Casual sex. You useless bastards. So, let's see what I'm missing.

Not much.

RENTON: Christ, I haven't felt that good since Archie Gemmill scored against Holland in 1978.

LIZZY: What do you mean, it's 'gone'? Where has it gone, Tommy?

TOMMY: It'll be here somewhere. I might have returned it by mistake.

LIZZY: Returned it? Where? To the video shop, Tommy? To the fucking video store? So every punter in Edinburgh is jerking off to our video? God, Tommy, I feel sick.

DIANE: I don't see why not.

RENTON: Because it's illegal.

DIANE: Holding hands?

RENTON: No, not holding hands.

DIANE: In that case you can do it. You were quite happy to do a lot more last night.

RENTON: And that's what's illegal. Do you know what they do to people like me inside? They'd cut my balls off and flush them down the fucking toilet.

TOMMY: Doesn't it make you proud to be Scottish?

RENTON: I hate being Scottish. We're the lowest of the fucking low, the scum of the earth, the most wretched, servile, miserable, pathetic trash that was ever shat into civilization. Some people hate the English, but I don't. They're just wankers. We, on the other hand, are colonized by wankers. We can't even pick a decent culture to be colonized by. We are ruled by effete arseholes. It's a shite state of affairs and all the fresh air in the world will not make any fucking difference.

RENTON: Swanney taught us to adore and respect the National Health Service, for it was the source of much of our gear. We stole drugs, we stole prescriptions, or bought them, sold them, swapped them, forged them, photocopied them or traded them with cancer victims, alcoholics, old age pensioners, AIDS patients, epileptics and bored housewives. We took morphine, diamorphine, cyclozine, codeine, temazepam, nitrezepam, phenobarbitone, sodium amytal dextropropoxyphene, methadone, nalbuphine, pethidine, pentazocine, buprenorphine, dextromoramide chlormethiazole. The streets are awash with drugs that you can have for unhappiness and pain, and we took them all. Fuck it, we would have injected Vitamin C if only they'd made it illegal.

DIANE: Hello there, Mark. What are you doing? You didn't tell me you were a thief.

SPUD: Hey, go easy, lady. The boy's got a habit to support.

SICK BOY: Opium doesn't just grow on trees, you know.

RENTON: Nor did I. Our only response was to keep on going and fuck everything. Pile misery upon misery, heap it up on a spoon and dissolve it with a drop of bile, then squirt it into a stinking purulent vein and do it all over again. Keep on going: getting up, going out, robbing, stealing, fucking people over, propelling ourselves with longing towards the day it would all go wrong.

Because no matter how much you stash or how much you steal, you never have enough. No matter how often you go out and rob and fuck people over you always need to get up and do it all again.

Sooner or later, this sort of thing was bound to happen.

RENTON: I do appreciate what you're trying to do, I really do, but I need just one score, to ease myself off it. Just one. Just one.

BEGBIE: Well, this is a good laugh, you fucking useless bastard. Go on, sweat that shite out of your system, because if I come back and it's still there, I'll fucking kick it out.

DIANE: You're not getting any younger, Mark. The world is changing, music is changing, even drugs are changing. You can't stay in here all day dreaming about heroin and Ziggy Pop.

RENTON: It's Iggy Pop.

DIANE: Whatever. I mean, the guy's dead anyway.

RENTON: Iggy Pop is not dead. He toured last year. Tommy went to see him.

RENTON: This was to be my final hit. But let's be clear about this: there's final hits and final hits. What kind was this to be? Some final hits are actually terminal one way or another, while others are merely transit points as you travel from station to station on the junky journey through junky life.

SICK BOY: So what are you planning with your share, Spud?

RENTON: Buy yourself that island in the sun?

BEGBIE: For four fucking grand? One plam tree, a couple of rocks, and a sewage outflow.

SPUD: I don't know, maybe I'll buy something for my ma, and then buy some good speed, no bicarb like, then get a girl, take her out like, and treat her -- properly.

BEGBIE: Shag her senseless.

SPUD: No, I don't mean like that -- I mean something nice, like, that's all --

BEGBIE: You daft cunt. If you're going to waste it like that, you might as well leave it all to me.

So why did I do it? I could offer a million answers, all false. The truth is that I'm a bad person, but that's going to change, I'm going to change. This is the last of this sort of thing. I'm cleaning up and I'm moving on, going straight and choosing life. I'm looking forward to it already. I'm going to be just like you: the job, the family, the fucking big television, the washing machine, the car, the compact disc and electrical tin opener, good health, low cholesterol, dental insurance, mortgage, starter home, leisurewear, luggage, three-piece suite, DIY, game shows, junk food, children, walks in the park, nine to five, good at golf, washing the car, choice of sweaters, family Christmas, indexed pension, tax exemption, clearing the gutters, getting by, looking ahead, to the day you die.