I noticed him from a 1/2 a block away. I was in my own world, to say the least, but he caught my attention. I noticed a small figure rocking back and forth. I wasn't sure who it was at first. These alleys drew a cast of characters. Because they were a few streets away from both the male hustler bars and the corners were females sold there services, anyone could turn up near my encampment. These people were transient. They came and went. Or I should say they came, they got paid, and they left. People like myself, we were the ones who were left holding the world on our shoulders.
I lived here. I didn't not live in San Francisco. I did not live in the Tenderloin. I did not live- I existed. I was here on the fringe of human activity. I could scurry away like a rat when I was approached. I wasn't good enough to exist in the world of normal people. I found a place in Fern alley. It was close to a liquor store, a gas station where I could use the bathroom and a movie theater. It was within 100 yards of where I laid my head, if I actually decided to sleep. There was a constant trickle of dates moving past me on their way to lose themselves in a dark room. My life played out with the ferocity beyond anything they could see up on the screen.
As I got closer, I noticed the familiar face. He was small for a male. I couldn't really call him a man. It seems out of place. We were so young then. He was 5'8" and slight in build. Heroin didn't help his appearance. his skin looked almost translucent in the noon sun. He was rocking back and forth on my blankets. This wasn't unusual. As a resourceful junkie, I would charge people who did not have the time to make it back to their apartments to fix. For a healthy cotton, you could use my space. For $5, you could get a few syringes. If you got me high, all of this could be yours AND I would watch for the police. Before judging- Like hey didn't you get all that shit for free- I would stop people dead in their dope sick tracks.
"If that is the way you feel bro" I told them "go find another place."
"But...But...But..." they would stutter.
I would sit my ass right in the middle of my blankets and not budge. A shopping cart make for an A-MA-ZING cover most of the the type. It was a mobile shooting gallery on wheels. Just pay my price of admission.
My little friend was rocking back and forth on my blankets.
"I couldn't find the outfits", he told me. His hands were shaking.
I knew something was wrong then. I always kept a bundle of new syringes in a black lunchbox under my sweatshirt at the bottom part of my shopping cart. I would sleep with them under my head. People were sick here. They would use your syringe and put the cap back on like nothing had happened. More than once, I had been sold a dirty syringe when I was told it was a new one. The person would use a match head to burn the cap back on. The only way to tell would be the fact that there would be some condensation in the section where the plunger hid under the needle. Dirty skank ass dope fiends selling used syringes. Was nothing fucking sacred?
I grabbed my kit "Let me help you Ricky," I told him. Ricky had come here from the East Coast. He was forced out of his house because he was gay. I am not sure how he ended up here. I only knew he was one of the only trustworthy junkies I ever came across in this world.
Ricky rocked back and forth as he tried to get out the dope. The amount of drugs I have seen him do was completely insane. His habit was only matched by his ability to pull in money. For some reason, the dates loved him. That fresh face must have done it. He said he was 19 but he looked 14. The men who came to this world loved someone like that. They liked to find someone young to violate.
As I watched him prep his wares, I noticed something different. "Where did you go last night?" I asked.
He started rocking even harder. "I went to L.A.'s house last night," he told me. He pulled the lace out of his boot. "He told me he was going to give me some money for dope if I did some speed with him."
I assume he got his shot. I was busy looking for cops. He tapped my leg.
"That was the last thing I remember", he told me in a gravely voice. He pointed towards the cooker.
"There," he told me "I left you something."
I was grateful. I was sick. He left me just what I needed.
"Can I sit here with you for a little while Trace?" he asked me. He was in no condition to go anywhere. I saw him curl up inside of himself. He went to a place where things were safe. He went to a place where he was surrounded by the world yet he was totally alone. He was in a place where there was no pain.
I wanted to join him. I waited a few minutes. I sat down next to him. We didn't have to talk. I already knew what happened to him. Someone got a 16th of speed for finding Ricky. L.A. was a speed dealer who liked to rape "boys" as he called them. They started out willing. He would give them so much speed the "boys" would be out of their minds with the legs and everything else in the air. L.A. was HIV positive with not a condom in sight. I had never been to his place but I knew what happened there. At the end of the night, he had handed Ricky $100 to make it seem like it had never happened. It wasn't rape if he paid them. If he paid them, they were to blame.
I wasn't sure I wanted to take his drugs. He would need them later, to try to forget. Unfortunately, we lived in a city full of people like L.A. I needed this drugs to forget my own rapes.
I did my shot and sat next to Ricky. We both nodded out in the sun. I sat there next to him. We didn't need to talk. We had heroin. In the end, that was all that mattered.
This is based on a real person and a real incident, not a composite of different people.