Addict’s Almanac – part 3 in a series
Tye Doudy is 33 years old and lives in Portland, USA. In this column he takes readers on a journey through extraordinary moments in his life. His true stories read like a diary. He hopes, he says, that others may learn from his mistakes. Tye likes to hear from his readers, and can be reached at email@example.com.
There is mariachi music playing quietly when I enter the car. Julio smiling with bulging cheeks, reaches over and turns off the stereo. “Hola, mi amigo,” he greets me as we pull away from the curb. “Hay mang, what chew need?”
“First, I need two white” I hand him the $30 for the two bags of coke and Julio holds his hand up to his mouth and spits out two small yellow balloons from the right side of his mouth. He dries them off on his leg and hands them to me. I wipe the balloons again on my own leg and place them in my mouth. I can immediately taste the harsh, almost diesel flavor of the cocaine in the balloons and I gag a little.
“Ees that eet?” Julio asks, sounding a little disappointed.
“No, I need some black too” With my own money and the money from the Scarecrow I have $100 to spend on heroin. I ask Julio what kind of deal he will give me if I spend a hundred bucks. He says, “Four for feefty, so eight for uno hundred.”
“Come on man, you can give me 10 for a hundred.”
Julio grins sheepishly. “Hokay, nine,” he says, looking at me to see if I will take the deal. I know nine is all I’m going to get so I count out the money fold it in half and hand it to him below the dash. He unfolds the bills and recounts them. Satisfied that all the money is there, he spits out nine blue balloons from the left side of his mouth. He repeats the ritual of drying them on his leg before handing them to me, and I do the same before placing the balloons in my own mouth. I put two balloons of the heroin in the left side of my cheeks with the two bags of coke and place the remaining balloons in the other side. That way I can hand the Scarecrow guy his shit without having to count it out on the sidewalk and also avoid letting him see how much I am holding.
Julio pulls the car over to the curb to let me out and I depart the vehicle without another word. What is there to say? Thank you? Have a nice day? FUCK YOU! I am glad to have a reliable dealer like Julio but I also hate his fucking guts. I think of all the money I have given him over the years and all that I have lost. I think of him smiling with his gold chains and the latest expensive cell phone. I think of myself in the pawnshop yet again with one of my guitars. He is a nice guy, I guess, but if given the chance and if I thought I could get away with it I would gladly cut his fucking throat and take everything I could. I fantasize about this a lot when I am broke and desperate. I think about how easy it would be. I plan it out over and over in my head. I justify this by telling myself that he basically sells death and misery. I think to myself that no one would miss this illegal alien dope dealer even though I know he probably has a wife and kids back home in Mexico. Fuck it; it’s just a fantasy anyway. I’m no killer. I’m just a poor strung out white boy in need of a fix.
Zoey and the Scarecrow are already walking toward me as I come around the corner. The Scarecrow is walking a few feet in front of her and his face is contorted with rage.
“Where the fuck were you?” he demands, as he gets right in my face. He is towering over me. Standing so close I can smell him. The unwashed and musty stink of him washes over me in a wave of revulsion. My hands harden into fists at my sides. He points a dirty yellowed finger in my face and begins loudly to demand his drugs. I try to tell him to relax and that we should leave the neighborhood.
“No, fuck that!” He yells loudly and he grabs my hand as if to snatch the drugs. When I open my hand and he sees that there is no dope closed within it is too much for him. I can see his mind working behind his horrible old eyes. With a quick motion he grabs from his pocket an old steak knife with a wooden handle. The kind you would get a Sizzler or something.
Lights are beginning to come on in the apartment building we are standing in front of, and I know it’s just a matter of time before the cops are called. He is holding the knife down by his leg and he hasn’t taken his eyes off of me. He seems frozen, like he can’t decide what to do “Calm down, I have your shit right here” I tell him, and I spit his four balloons into my hand. I dry the balloons off on my leg and extend them in my open hand. He looks shocked to see the drugs in my hand as if he was positive I had ripped him off. I tell him to put the knife away and let’s get the fuck out of here. Over his shoulder I can see that Zoey has been watching all of this. I can also see held low by her side the cold glint of the open knife in her hand.
The Scarecrow puts his knife away without taking his eyes from the balloons in my hand. As he reaches forward to pick them from my palm I flick my wrist, tossing his balloons into the street. With a scream of rage and anguish the Scarecrow jumps into the street after his drugs. In that same moment I turn towards Zoey and yell RUN! She instantly turns and begins to run down the sidewalk into the darkened neighborhood with me right behind her and catching up fast. “MOTHERFUCKER!” The Scarecrow guy yells. He is on his knees in the street with a lighter searching frantically for his bags. In the distance I can hear sirens. As I catch up with Zoey we slow down for a second and I grab the pack from her shoulders. I toss the pack onto my back and we continue to run for a few blocks, turning first left then right until we collapse in someone’s yard winded and gasping for breath.
“That was fucking close, are you all right?” she asks.
“Fine” I tell her. “We need to get out of here.” I can hear sirens getting closer, probably a few blocks away back on Hawthorne. I wonder to myself if the cops are pulling up right now to find the scarecrow guy still on his knees in the street looking for his drugs. I feel a little bad for him that he might go to jail but it’s better him than me. I stand up and go to pick up Zoey ‘s pack but she beats me to it. “Let me” she says lugging it up onto her back. I can’t argue, I can barely walk. I am so fucking worn out. My legs ache deeply in the bones and every step requires maximum effort. I am drenched in sweat and am starting to shiver in the night chill. The taste of vomit still fills my mouth.
“I need a hit like right now, where can we go?”
“We can go back to the bridge” she says. “That’s WAY too far, there has to be something open.” Then I remember the Burgerville back on Hawthorne. Waves of anxiety are washing over me and I can feel the eyes of everyone in the place turn towards us as we enter. The restaurant patrons appear monstrous and absurd under the harsh glare of the fluorescents. There is a large sign over the entrance to the restrooms: “Restrooms are for customers only,” it reads. I take a few bucks from my pocket, hand the bills to Zoey and tell her to order something. “What do you want?” She asks.
“Get me a 7-Up and get yourself whatever you want.”
“Be careful,” she replies, holding my hand with the money in it for just a second.
Without looking back, I head straight for the men’s room. The cool interior smells faintly of Lysol and piss but it looks clean. There is one stall and one urinal. Both are unoccupied. I go quickly into the stall and close the door. Fuck, I need water. I go back out of the stall and over to the two sinks. I take one of the small 28-gauge needles from the bag, fill it from the tap, and return to the stall. I remove my belt and sit down on the toilet. I place on my knees the needle full of water, the spoon, and a lighter. I pull out one of the balloons and rip it open with my teeth. I pinch off a small piece of the sticky black tar and put it on the spoon. I squirt about half of the water from the needle into the spoon and spray the rest on the floor. I hold the spoon with one shaking hand and with the other I light the lighter and put the flame to the bottom of the spoon. As the spoon heats and the vinegar smell of the heroin fills the stall. It’s all I can do to not vomit again.
I use the plunger end of the needle to stir the dope and water until it is a murky brown solution. “FUCK, I don’t have any cotton!” With my teeth I tear a corner of fabric from the sleeve of my shirt and place it into the spoon. I then put the point of the needle into the small piece of cloth, using it as a filter to draw up the dope. I get every last drop. Holding the rig in my teeth, I place my belt around my upper arm and cinch it tightly. With my other hand I scan the arm for telltale signs of a vein. Near my wrist I see the blue path of what could be a hittable spot. I first press the vein with my trembling fingers, following its path seeking the best angle. Sweat drips from my forehead onto the floor. Finding the spot where the vein seems to be plumpest, I carefully insert the thin needle under the skin. Feeling the small “pop” as the spike enters the vein, I draw back on the plunger a little. A small flower of blood blooms in tube of the needle and slowly I press the plunger down, sending the dark fluid traveling through my poor body.
By Tye Doudy
Reprinted from Street Roots
© Street News Service: http://www.street-papers.org