When I was balls deep in the mind fuck that was active addiction, the WORST thing that could possibly happen was to be stuck using with someone who had been clean.
"Have you ever done the steps, man?' he asked
"I'm not a man, I'm a chick, dude..." I told him.
"Have you AT LEAST been to meetings?" he asked.
"Can you pass me the fucking pipe?" I barked.
This whole afternoon is a recipe for disaster. Some days, the hustle is all about trying to build something from nothing. Today, I truly have a fuck load of nothing. The one thing I do have- this room. This room is my base of operations. "Guests" of the hotel, get all inclusive stay at the corner of hell and nowhere. In this package, we get rats the size of small cats. We get generations of roaches, so jaded they no longer scatter when you turn on the lights. They look up at you as they nibble on the crumbs of your 25cent home run pie like "you again? you bring me food, bitch?" We have the trick/pimp/manager. If you are short on the rent, he is so generous as to bring dates to your room to see if you are interested. I see the look of disappointment as I slam the door in his face as I scream "I have until 12 o'clock!"
This guy is the key to my future. Well, maybe not my future but at least the rest of today. He is sweating like a whore in church despite the fact the chilly air is pouring through the window.
"Can I close this?" I ask him. Why am I even asking. This is my room I am closing the "HEY!" he interrupts.
I roll my eyes back to him.
"Leave it open" he asks/tells me. "I have been locked up for too long."
His stories aren't adding up. This is pretty typical of this place. He has that look on his face, as if he has done something to make him feel guilty. I notice the tan line of the wedding ring and the watch he took of before he came here. He has on a t-shirt, plain jeans, and converse as if he was replaying his youth.
"I was like you once", he tells me. He here goes again. The fucking stories. "I was in and out of prison. I was on drugs." He pushes the pipe for emphasis. "But then....." sizzle sizzle sizzle pop "I found recovery."
I sprawl out on the bed. This is not going to be an easy one. This one wants to save me. I don't need to be saved. I am fine right where I am, sir. I am completely free. I have my drugs, I have the ability to go where ever I want, when ever I want. You are trapped, man. You have a job, a car note, a mortgage, a fucking family hidden somewhere. Every second of every moment of your day is planned. You are trapped and I am free. I want to ask him- where is your fucking recovery.
"I know you think I am full of shit," he tells me as he fiddles with his wallet. You got that right, I chuckle to myself.
I lean closer to his face "Dude, I got you some crack. What else do you want? If you are going to hang out all day and smoke fucking crack, you need to pay me for that. I gotta pay my rent by noon." He stands up to get his wallet. He turns around "did I shit my pants?" WHAT?! "No seriously," he asks me "I feel like I might have shit my pants." I shake my head in disgust. "DUDE slow the fuck down. NO. No. Go check your drawers. The bathroom is down the hall."
He throws me $40. OK, I will be right back we tell each other. Strangely, enough, this actually happened. This wasn't a trip to the store that ended in me coming back 8 hours later. I paid the front desk on my way out, used the $20 I made off him earlier to get a bag, and came right back. He was right where I had left him, he slid down the wall to the floor.
"Did you shit yourself?" I asked. Did I even want to know the answer.
"No no no," he told me as if I was crazy for asking. "I have some medical stuff." Cause this is the best place to be if you have a medical problem. My friend told me a story once about some crack house in Cincinnati. All the people in the room were strangers. They all bought the crack and were aloud to use a room upstairs. There were 4-5 people all sitting around when a girl fell out. Without speaking, yet in complete unison, two people moved the coffee table while another started rolling her up in the carpet. As they were walking down the stairs to throw her out with the garbage, she started screaming "help, Help!. I'm alive!" Now what would you say to her? Whoops my bad. I don't know. I have heard too many stories of dope fiends dumping people out of the car at the hospital when someone ODs. Or arguing for 45 minutes while someone lays dying from an asthma attack. I guess I am stupid. I am the type of person that would actually do something. I am the type of person who will call 911. I am the type of person who will breathe for you. I will give you new pants if you shit yourself and not laugh too hard. I guess I am too soft for this game.
"What is recovery like?" I ask him as I cook up my dope. He smiles at me. He fucking smiled. I cannot think of how long it has been since I saw someone actually smile.
"They have meetings and coffee" he tells me. I cut him off "I don't drink coffee."
"Well," he starts over. "You don't have to drink coffee. People go out to dinner and stuff afterwards. I used to go to meetings before my wife and I had our first kid. It was nice." He takes another breath and blows smoke to the ceiling.
As I feel the rush pour over me, I don't feel that sense of euphoria anymore. I feel that sense of sadness. I feel that sense of something not belonging. Smoking crack, staying up all night until I could find this mark, it has made me tired. As I curl myself into my ball of security, I pull the pillow underneath me.
"Tell me more about recovery," I ask him in my noddy haze "that sounds nice..." as slowly drift away.