Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Rodent

This is a rework of some of the blog entries. It is a rough chapter from my book. Uneditted so give me some leway. I am going to take a writing day next. week. I am cranking out 10 pages or so a week. Enjoy.
The Rodent
One man in particular kicked the door into my life. I was a loner in my addiction. I was living in Austin alleyway. I used to live in an alleyway right off the hustler alley. For the most part the businesses wouldn't complain about the homeless residents. Either that or the police didn't really care. They knew most of us by name. The chevron gas station was nice enough to let us use the bathroom there so I had some shred of humanity left. I never stayed one night in a homeless shelter. I felt safer outside. Enclosed places made me paranoid after years of doing crystal meth.

             I am not sure what was going on that summer. The police rarely made our encampment more to a new spot. They would rile us every few days. In general though, that summer produced some limited stability. I was camping out with my best friend Brian. He is one of the few people I don’t mention calling by their name. He was the first person I had met that had actually BEEN clean. He had been in a program as a 21 year old. We would drink St. Ides, listen to Kool G Rap, and talk about changing our lives. I can’t say I was particularly happy or unhappy at the time. The only thing I knew was that I was vulnerable to the elements.
          When I met Him, I wasn’t expecting much so I didn’t get it. He wasn’t my type. He had a car, manners, he was old- much older than he actually was at the time. I would have guess prison, I would have never guessed murderer although he did wear that off-the-yard cologne. He had dark brown eyes that bounced around like fireflies escaping destiny on a dark night. He broke into my life like he broke into cars. He smashed the window, took what he could get, and left me to pick up the shattered pieces. I don’t think I even loved him unless fear is love. Although, if a dog fears you, I don’t think they really love you because they are still waiting for an opportunity to run out the door. I am sure when I was with him, I had that same far-away look. I was waiting for the door to open on my opaque opportunity for escape.

            I hate him. I hate Mr. Rodent. I saw him in his car one day. He had some old two door he had drove up from Florida. He was everything I hated in a man. He was slick, he was short, he had game, and he had his eyes set on me. He has the lone wolf quality. He centered on the pack animal that wandered off. He was vibrant. He had manner. He had me in his sights and I was the prey of the day.
            I spent most of my addiction alone. I would sit and stare out the window for hours. Or stare at the ceiling. Many times I wished I would die but I never really thought of killing myself until I met him. I was sitting in the alley. He asked me if I wanted a Snapple. He offered me a ride in his car. Why do I need a ride? I’m living in an alley. I think he liked the fact that I was snarky and abusive. My tongue was my only self defense. One thing I learned from this man over the eighteen months we were together was how to defend myself. Between him beating me and stalking me, my life was out of my hands the minute I drank that Snapple on that hot day in Austin alley.
            On our second date, he broke down my door because I wouldn’t open it for him. I realized at that moment that there would be no rest until this ended. Between the broke noses, the humiliation, the isolation, and lack of privacy I see the real way to torture someone who thinks they are above this treatment. I had an invisible leash and a head full of messages telling me I could never, ever leave. I thought I was stronger than this, I told myself.
             I had spent $40 for a place to be alone at the Bristol hotel. I had a room with a bathroom that I had turned a trick to get. I needed to get away for a few days. I often would wander off by myself for days to get my mind right. I never should have let him sleep in my bed. He was a creature of opportunity. He saw that I had something that he wanted. It turned out that his hustle was leeching from others. Male, female, transgender. Friend or recent enemy. It was a surprise to learn that he traded sex for drugs when nothing really surprised me. He had been in prison for manslaughter and learned to use whatever tools necessary to survive.
            He kicked in the door into my life. The message was- you belong to me. Your are not going to leave me. He made sure EVERYONE knew. He would smack the gum out of my mouth. Take the sandwich out of my hand. Beat my ass and turn the light off. “SHHH. I’ll be back.” There would be another bang at the door. It was check out time. He rarely came to see the damage he caused unless he needed something more from me.
            Quickly, no place in the tenderloin would rent a room to me. -“ Too many problems!
            That was what I had, too many problems. A woman on drugs is truly a woman alone. The point could be argued but not to me. Many, many nights I felt my skin crawl. One of the areas where I would sit and drink a 40 was an area that has one of the highest concentration of sex offenders in the country. Every time I got out of a car, any time I had my own money, I was never alone. I found out, it was much better to have a boyfriend who was a hustler because they may be having sex with men but they have their own damn money. This man, this rodent, this rabid rodent had me.

            He held me down with a knife to my throat. This was the day I was drowning. He was always threatening to kill me. Sometimes he tried. I walked that day. I walked miles to the ocean. First I threw the knife into the ocean. Then my shoes- green clam shell Adidas. Then I threw myself. The water was cold but I wanted to keep walking to have this world end. And then I started drowning.
            He was killing me this man. But now I was drowning. The tide was sucking me out. The water was cold. My clothes were pulling me down. I realized when I surrendered to death that I wanted to live. The water, gasping for air. This relationship is killing me but I will not die.

No one rescued me although people on the shore, strangers, covered me with a blanket. This relationship is killing me. He is killing me. The drugs are killing me.

I survived that day. I didn't stop using that day but he never had the same grip on me. I knew I would get away. KNEW it.
                        I would disappear from him. He knew where to find my stuff, right off of Polk street, but he rarely knew where to find me. A this point in my addiction, I had lost both my contacts AND my glasses. I can barely see my hand in front of me without either. I could not see him watching me. I would feel a presence as he ran up and tapped me on the shoulder. He liked to catch me off guard, sometimes slapping me, other times knocking me down. Why did I talk to that person? Why did I do this or that? The constant questioning was exhausting. I wanted to lay on my dirty blankets and sleep forever. Sleep until he was gone.
            Strangely, I found a solution. It started easily enough. Depressed. Sitting in the bed with my clothes still on. I don’t have the energy to make anything happen for myself. I have slept 14 hours. Or maybe 15. I am not sure. My hair hurt. I’m tired. I am in mood again. I thought I had these feelings suppressed better than a happy memory.. I can’t eat enough sugar, take enough baths, spent enough money to get these enormous stones off my chest. The world is slanted and blurry. I still remember. I lay by myself on a sidewalk…
            I have done maybe a gram of speed today. I am laying behind my shopping chart on my blankets in a dirty parking garage on Sutter street, San Francisco. 25 years old, hopeless and homeless. It’s been raining recently and the rain comes in the garage and homeless kids sleep around the puddles if they sleep at all. It is safer to travel in packs when you are young and on the street. I am older but I am only a minor threat. I will take your drugs but I won’t rape you in your sleep so that makes me a companion worth having. I thought I was doing well for awhile. I had a little job at a store. I would clean up and park my shopping cart in back. But, here I am again. I am laying on my side, in my clothes.
            I have shot maybe and gram of that grey stinking speed and I am still not fucking high because no amount of drugs can hide the fact that that muther fucker may come back to terrorize me at any minute. He has already beaten me, broken my nose. He held me hostage with a knife behind the movie theater. I was wearing a cotton nightgown because it was hot outside. I never met a homeless woman like me. It was like I never even realized that the world takes place indoors and I was in some state of limbo where demons had access to me 24/7 in the toilet of an alley I called my home. No amount of wool blanket cardboard, or carts with nice wheels could move me into reality as long as I injected powder depression straight to my body I was suffocating with utter neglect. I was about 119 pounds at this time. Why would any man want to fight with me when I had already surrendered to my fate? I had given up on the dream and the shadows ran into on ear and out the other.-
            I can’t remember if it was 95 or 96. But, Believe it or not, this story has a happy ending if you call violence happy. The violence wasn’t directed at me for once. It was directed at my tormentor and a hero emerged from the alley. On that day, at that very moment, in the rain, laying on my side, a dark knight in shining flannel emerged. “Tracey, who did this to you.” He knew (and I knew) that no one was doing anything to me at that moment. It was the collective done, the heavy sadness that is an injustice so great that people poison themselves with drain-o and red phophorus to escape into broken dreams.

            A year later was when my messenger arrived with a message of hope. “Who did this to you?” I gave his name, rank, and serial number. If he thought he was some kind of street soldier, he would have to deal with my friend the quiet assassin. I am not sure why exactly John took up my cause. It wasn’t for sex because we never slept together. It wasn’t for money because I didn’t have any that didn’t go in my arm. It wasn’t for revenge because he has never met HIM. To this day, I would like to believe he took on my lost cause because it was the right thing to do for me. He promised me that day he would find HIM and he would take care of it. And, he did.
            I would disappear from them both though. The rodent knew where to find my stuff, right off of Polk street. He knew where to find me. A this point in my addiction, I had lost both my contacts AND my glasses. I can barely see my hand in front of me without either. I could not see him watching me. I would feel a presence as he ran up and tapped me on the shoulder. He liked to catch me off guard, sometimes slapping me, other times knocking me down. Why did I talk to that person? Why did I do this or that? The constant questioning was exhausting. I wanted to lay on my dirty blankets and sleep forever. Sleep until he was gone.
            The answer was so simple it was beyond my reach. As long as I had the one thing this person needed, he would never leave me alone. He was in some type of relationship with some other person at this point. I was grateful but his visits did not stop. I wanted to rest. I returned to the warm comfort of a hot spoon. Heroin. My friend. My confidant. Heroin does not judge you. It embraces your return. Heroin is a snake that wraps around you. The snake is smooth and friendly. It provides you companionship at the expense of all others.  Then it swallows you whole.
            Heroin. He hated heroin. He wanted my speed but hated heroin. “Can I have some of that?” At first I thought hell no. Why would I share my little ends with you- a drug you do not even enjoy? Then, the answer came to me. Yes. Yes. I am more than willing to share. Again. I will share again. And again. They say that revenge is a dish served cold but this was served in forty unit increments.
“I am not feeling well.”
“Really?” I ask calmly “what do you think is wrong?”
            Four days. Four days you have come by and sucked up the brown syrup that envelops my existence. You have shared in my numb exchange. But now, you will share in my fury. You, my friend, are dope sick. And me, your weary connection, is all out of ends. Bye bye. He was off.
Dear revenge, thank you. The justice fit the crime. He beat me to get my speed but I won. He came in with a bang.  He left with a whimper. That was THE END.
I needed this guy


  1. Because I love you, and our lives where misserable enough without the help of little pieces of human refuse sucking the life from us. Because you needed a champion and I was well enough at the time to be that. Because you are my Sister and I saw the you that was being stiffeled and i could clear at least that part of the way. But Most of all Because I love you. I am so totaly proud of you and your life and Family. You rose above.

  2. Hi Tracey..
    Did you use crystal meth before heroin? Isn't it more devastating than heroin?

    1. I got into heroin then meth than back to heroin then everything at one time. Meth is very hard on your body and mind. I heard voices occasionally from it for two years after I stopped using

  3. Hi, I'm Martha, from Tijuana, Baja California. I love your blog, I admire you so much for staying clean all this time and I think, from what I see in the pictures you posted, you're doing a great job raising your family.
    I wish you nothing but the best. Take care.

    1. thank you so much for taking the time out to read my blog