I had been ripped off before. When you buy drugs on the street, that is part of the daily grind of an addict. This time, it was particularly painful. I thought I had found someone I could trust. I was wrong.
I am a solo user. I have no problem using alone. I am not using heroin as part of some broader social experiment. I am not interested in having it enhance sex because the lower half of my body is completely numb. I guess that isn't entirely true. It does come alive when I am in withdrawal. Or from time to time a bowel movement the size of my forearm decides to rear it's ugly head, ripping my ass apart until it feels like I gave booty birth to a premature 4 pound stool baby. I sometimes masturbate in dirty gas station toilets because there is no where else to go when you live outside. My period has been gone so long I used the last tampon for the cotton when I had no filter. There is no room for anyone in my life. Heroin sucks the oxygen from my lungs. It steals the blood from my body. It places blinders on my eyes. I can no longer see anything for myself.
I can't believe I fell for the oldest trick in the book. I let him walk away with my money. I was never one to fall for a pretty face. But, he got to me. There is something about the collarbones of a junkie boy in a baseball hat and a wife beater that always catches my attention. Plus, I really, really needed him to go in on a gram with me. Have you ever had that situation where you are just a few dollars short? Should I really call Flacco or Marco or Sancho or Lil Man or Big Man or Ray Ray or Big Jay knowing full well I don't have all the money? Well today, I was about to do it. Fuck it. I'm short.
"Are you waiting?" he asked me.
No, I am just standing around at a fucking gas station in the baking sun for my fucking health.
I roll my eyes and try to ignore him.
"Are you waiting, too?" he asks me in a HEY I'M TALKING TO YOU voice.
I snap "Yeah". I start to put some distance between me and him.
He is about six feet tall, maybe 150 pounds with his shoes on. If he wants to rob me, he better have a knife.
He doesn't. He has an idea.
I can tell as he starts walking to me, he is in full on scam mode. I see the scam walk. I see the hat tilted to the side. I know what is happening here. Yet, I really need him. I need him. If I come short one more time, this dealer is going to cut me off. I don't have much more room to wiggle.
"How much money do you got?" he asks me.
Who else besides for junkies strikes up a conversation by asking all your personal details. Instead of what is your name, we want to know what you use, you who score from, and how much dope you have.
I had $57 dollars. I needed sixty.
"How much money do YOU have?" I asked him.
He moved a little closer. He whispered "I got five bucks and I am getting something. He will give it to me".
I laughed. I laughed out loud. This dude was fucking crazy. I was sick, it was hot as fuck. My underwear was stuck to my ass it was so hot. I could smell the vinegar coming out of my pores. The sweat smelled like chiva and fish and chips. This dude was fucking CRAZY. You can't get anything for five bucks.
We waited and waited and waited and called and waited and waited and called. Somehow, in thirty minutes, he convinced me to go in with him. This dealer hated me, I told him. He was pissed I wouldn't suck his dick for one bag. Not just suck his dick, suck his dick without a condom in the hot sun in his crown royal while his balls had baked inside of his gym pants all day. Fuck that shit.
"One bag?" he asked me "Are you fucking serious? That is like $30!"
He convinced me. He did it. He smiled and talked to me like I was special. He convinced me he would come back with the dope. He was just going to the next corner. He didn't want to be seen with me though hang out RIGHT over here until he got back. Fuck, I can't believe it. I handed him the money.
I had been ripped off before. I knew when to give up. He had been gone twenty minutes. It was done. I was fucked twice. I could not call my dope boy again for ditching him. Now, I didn't even have my $57. My face was wet with sweat and tears as I started the painful walk back to the Tenderloin when I felt someone tap me.
"Let's go!" he told me, pointing me down a side street. He handed me back my money.
"I don't understand..." I told him.
I followed him with my heart pounding out of my chest. He was walking so fast, like he was trying to get away from something.
"Give me chivah or I will give the el sida!" He told me later as we mixed up our dark shots. He shared a gram with me right down the middle.
"I was thinking about robbing him but when you told me that shit about the blowjob, I made up my mind."
We never hung out again but when I would see him I would smile. I had been ripped off before, but on that day, it wasn't me. And I was grateful.