The generic dun dun duns of some pop star from senior year of high school fills my eardrums. It reminds me of a happier time. A time when if I at least didn't have direction in life, I felt some misguided sense of purpose. Even if it was only to push her against a parked car, pants sagging that half-assed, wannabe-gangster sag I tried to rock back in the day, kissing her with everything I had. And a little something extra borrowed from tomorrow, thanks to the mixture of cocaine and oxycodone slowly filling me with its indescribable euphoria.
I'm dope sick. Again. Why do I do this to myself? Do I enjoy lying to everyone who cares about me? No. Not in the slightest. Do I think about the fact that I've overdosed twice? Sometimes. Do I remember that time at old john's in the Windsor where I was more concerned about getting off - my goddamn veins not giving up even the slightest hint of that telltale ruby red plume - than calling 911 for the chick dying next to me? Yeah, but that's the thing about heroin. And cocaine. And methamphetamine. Substances that I draw up into a hypodermic needle on a near daily basis are excellent at helping me ignore how far I've fallen.
I sit up, wiping the sleep from my eyes, noticing that I'm already sniffling - one of the signs of the lack of opiates in my body. I just need one shot. Then I'll tell dad I need to get help. I won't hustle the sick fiend who I middleman for, for a quick forty bucks. I won't boost from target or the Microsoft store or from Apple. I won't rip and run and slang dope or coke or crystal. I won't try and organize a robbery of my dealer. I won't cop a Glock in the point because I'm scared that S from Jones and Eddy is serious about murdering my family over a deal gone wrong. I'll go back to the economics textbooks I sold back at Vassar for five Murder bags. Their crystalline off-white powder interior being the only salvation for the shitstorm that was brewing around me. Tomorrow, I will do all of that. Tomorrow, I will start on the long road to redemption. But today? Today man, I'm just trying to get high.
My tango with narcotics started early. Things were a bit different for me, though. I wasn't your typical addict. Although I didn't take things to excess - in the beginning at least, I did feel the need to try every goddamn substance at least once. I remember the late afternoon when I bought cocaine for the first time. D and S standing by me, nervously excited to watch their close friend try yack. Funny thing is, I hated it.
I'd tried opiates before, buying Vicodin off one of the hipster kids at my high school. Spacey, is the only word that can aptly describe how I felt. No nodding, no euphoria, just boredom. Maybe opiates weren't my thing? Hah. Sadly, I wouldn't let myself off that easily. Next up was oxycontin around January of '10. It was a school night. I remember chopping the pumpkin colored pill into squares. Popping one. Then a second. Then the third. Then the final fourth. Fifteen minutes later I was flying. I told myself words that still haunt me, "this is how I'm supposed to feel... forever."
I managed to get through high school on the honor roll, landing acceptances at top universities across the country. All the while, more and more oxycodone found its way into my system. First through my mouth and later up my nose. I found that I did better work on oxy. I was a more enjoyable person to be around. My parents commented on my more motivated nature. Teachers and friends doted. After leaving my girlfriend of two plus years after a weekend of MDMA use, I went for anyone who came my way. Pint of that good sailor. Four 30's up the nose. A Xanax bar or two, and I was no longer in control of my own decisions. Things went well for a time, until I began noticing that more and more days out of the week I found myself driving over to T's place for the $100, then $200, and later $400 purchases. Then came the cocaine. I don't remember most of the summer of 2011 - it's mostly a drug-addled haze, save for a few brief spurts of sobriety - the lucidity being before my morning dose, or in the wee hours of the night, some unknown stranger snoring away on my chest. M? S? Who the fuck even knew. I burned through the graduation money fast. $2,000 - gone in a week and a half. Soon after, I began moving cocaine and marijuana for a dealer that lived down the street - J. With a mixture of marijuana and cocaine sales filling my days, I barely noticed that I was drifting away from my friends who didn't use, along with - something any addict can relate to - the use of my drugs of choice to self medicate depression. I'd been hanging with this chick C - a little older than me, blonde, striking as all hell. She'd dropped her man and moved to me oh so goddamn fast. So fast, that I got caught up in the raw sexuality of it all - the fierce passion of seeing someone older than you, that I didn't pick up on the fact that roles could be switched in an instant. I could easily become that dropped man - and oh indeed I did. Fast forward two weeks, and I'm slamming the bathroom door in the face of one of my best friends - J - as I crush down six blues on the edge of the sink. Insufflating the powdered oxycodone long and hard - making sure every bit of opiate pleasure reached my brain, 'cause Lord knows I needed it. I wanted to forget. I wanted to not feel.
"So I know this is out of the blue, but I'm near your house and my hand is bleeding like a motherfucker from dicing tuna - what's up?" That was the first time I'd texted F. I'd been drinking and doing pills, showing up loaded out of my mind at K's, where Camron, the great and boastful chef, had promised to cook the girls dinner. Halfway through a brown sugar crusted pot roast with tuna tartar on the side I nearly sliced my thumb clean off. It hurt something vicious. I howled in pain, reaching with my good hand into my coin pocket - hoping, praying, that I'd feel something blue and round. No dice. "Fuck this," I mumbled quietly, my voice filled with vitriolic hate, as I served the girls their food and turned to leave without even as much as a goodbye. Farah talked me through bandaging up my hand. A date to hang out was set. However, rule one of addiction - no matter how good your intentions may be, the drugs always come first. I would end up lying to, hurting, and utterly fucking up beyond any semblance of fixture a relationship that meant the world to me.
The pop music again fills my ears. This time accompanied by a crescendo of heavy bass. Building, building, building. My emotions are running wild. And it drops. It's an auditory orgasm. I look at the date the Kaskade track was released. 2011. My heart sinks. One of my biggest regrets is losing my interest in music. Only in the throes of withdrawal does music sound this fantastic. I switch the song to some of that good Oakland rap. The thick, deep voice of some soul wholly unknown to me fills my eardrums. I am calmed by the lyrics - guns, moving weight, pushing dope, coke, crystal, gang banging, somehow it makes what I do day in and day out that much more... okay? Allowed? Innocent? Any one of these words could fit the bill of what my addict mind hopes to achieve by listening to a song that glorifies this pain. And yet, on I go. One foot after the other. A Jackson rolled up tight in my right hand, on my way to get right.
2am. I was supposed to be home long ago. I don't care. It's her and I. We're listening to Adele's "someone like you" - foreshadowing what's to come, perhaps? We kiss and kiss and goddamnit if we don't kiss some more. I look into those dark brown eyes, pushing her hair out of the way, taking in her beauty. I tell her I love her and at this moment, with an opiate addiction and my life going to hell fast, I know more than anything that I mean it. I want to get clean for her. We part ways and I drive to T's for more pills. I cry driving home, tempted to throw the pills out the window, but without the willpower to actually do it. Another failed attempt at taking the steps necessary to get clean. Distraught, I park, go into my room, and pass out into opiated bliss.
I walk down minna to sixth street. A gram of shit sludge heroin palmed in my hand, a bag of needles in the other. I tread lightly over the worn cement - stepping over the multitude of bodies strewn about. Men and women living in a world wholly lost upon the rest of San Francisco. A sight to be pitied by the upper class of pacific heights. I take a seat on the aged cement next to a haggard looking middle aged woman digging for a vein fruitlessly. She curses under her breath as the needle becomes duller and duller. I know that she's just gonna end up sticking the needle into her thigh muscle and pushing gingerly down on the plunger. Muscling, as it's known. I'm not at that point yet. If I ever get there, I'll stop, I tell myself knowing full well it's an utter lie. I drop the sticky black chunk into the metal cooker, squirting water on top - finally heating the mixture until melted and mixed with the water. Black sludge indeed. I drop a balled up piece of cotton into the mix and finally insert my needle, drawing up the obsidian black mixture into my rig - motions practiced many a time prior. I effortlessly slide the spike into my forearm. I draw back and smile as the hot, red blood shoots up the needle's neck, streaking the black with flecks of crimson. I slam the plunger down, oblivious to any legitimate worry of an overdose. One, two, three, four, tingle. tingle. My face is flushed and I feel pins and needles everywhere. It's better than sex. I feel like I've been dipped in syrup. All worries and fears are erased. As I stand up and begin to walk away a harsh, bright light shines on me. I try to run inside the Auburn SRO, but these cops are quick as all hell. Within seconds I'm forced against the wall by some cop on the Tenderloin beat. Bracelets slapped on. Crunch. I wince as they're slapped on extra tight. Nothing even remotely resembling a worry enters my mind. With all the narcotics I'd purchased now flowing freely through my bloodstream there is no way I could possibly be taken down to 850 Bryant St. and arrested. After a few minutes of being searched and questioned, I'm released.
"Why can't you fuck me like you don't love me?" I'm baffled at the statement. My mind races. My heart pumps. What do I say back? I'm sorry? The tears begin to flow, hot and salty. The backsliding begins slowly, seductively, kinda like good heroin. Within a week of being back at school I'm quickly burning through the cash I left San Francisco with. I fucked up this time. Not that I haven't in the past, but I asked her to mail me a Schedule I substance across state lines - a felony. F's parents punish her harshly. When I get the call concerning what went down I'm in E's room at Vassar trying to bargain my way toward some cheap Adderal. When F hangs up on me I feel both nothing and everything. I'm bawling. My relationship is done. What's left to do? I call the oxy man. Nothing. I wish it didn't have to come to this, but I remember down to the dot what I did that night. I bought heroin and injected it. The 18th of January 2012. $140 for a gram in upstate New York. I snorted five of the glassine bags. Nothing. I still felt like shit. I googled to see if the local Rite Aid was open. I knew what I was going to. I pounded a bottle of water and hit the gym for a few minutes to get my veins nice and plump. I robotically made my way over to the pharmacy. Handing a one dollar bill to the pharmacist and mumbling something about needing them for my insulin shots. The cashier knew what I was planning on doing. I showed her my ID - battered from all the pills I used to crush under it. 18+ and I was good to go. No one except an IV drug user knows the shame of walking out of a pharmacy after purchasing a pack of syringes. At first, I tried to hide what I was doing by also purchasing diabetic equipment, but after awhile I just didn't care who knew. My arms bore the marks of an intravenous addict. Everything was going to hell, fast.
I look at my arms. Pock marked with what the years have left - lumps galore. I have been injecting heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, oxycodone, oxymorphone, morphine, MDMA, and Dilaudid for the past two years. I was supposed to be graduating from Vassar College next year. What the fuck happened to my life
This is an unfinished work that has yet to be edited and is in the process of becoming a published novel circa sometime in 2015.