Guest Post "High In The Chi - The Cicero Blues"

I feel like a purple fucking alien. Standing by the doors on the 
7am Blue line train headed into the city in my grubby jeans and dirty hoodie surrounded by all the early morning commuters in their button down shirts and ties and sensible pant suits. Well dressed slaves, I think. " Cicero is next " the canned pre recorded voice drones over the trains speakers. " Doors open on the left at Cicero". The train squeals to a stop and I elbow my way through all these captains of industry with their sharp little briefcases full of dreams and sales projections. These poor bastards wouldn't step foot off the train here if the fucking thing was on fire. I stumble across the platform and up the escalator to street level. The chills and sniffles are really starting to kick in as a step out of the station and onto the sidewalk. The chilly October wind slaps me in the face and I pull my hoodie up over my head just in time to see a Chicago PD Suburban gliding up to the curb in front of the station to watch for skinny white junkies coming off. Its just creepy and ominous the way they look at you like " Yeah, mother fucker, I'll catch you on the way back ". The fuck you will, I mutter silently.

A couple blocks up Cicero ave, Rothschild liquors is my first stop. I consider for a moment buying a pint of Richards Wild Irish Rose just to slam down to fight off the chill and creeping sickness. I settle on a warm Gatorade and change for a couple of $20's. As I step back outside I see Dayday standing on the corner trying to scribble out a sign on a piece of cardboard so he could spare change a few dollars while he waited for me. " What up, dog " ? I yelled , as I walked up to him " The fuck you doin, arts and crafts "? " Getting my hussle on. You don't know nothin bout that, White Boy ". He grinned as he said it, his teeth gleaming in the morning sun. The guy had perfect fucking teeth, for a homeless dude. Dayday wasn't really homeless. Not in the down and out kind of way. He ate at restaurants twice a day and slept in a hotel every night. He had money. I think the only reason he hussled and panhandled was because it just killed him to spend his own money. Cheap bastard even made me buy him a blow every day just for the privileged of hanging out with him and copping dope. Truth is, I always did a little better rollin up to the spots with him and being the cheapass that he was, he always knew who was running the pass outs ( free blows to advertise a new product ). That's where we were headed this morning.

Dayday said they were passing out the red tape foils over on Washington st. We headed a few blocks up and cut east toward junkie heaven. People were already lined up 15 deep when we got to the spot. If you've never seen a pass out it is some crazy shit. Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd. They can only keep it running for about 20 minutes till things get too crazy and someone calls the cops to break it up and get all the fuckin junkies off their lawn. Dayday would usually cut a deal with the worker who was passing out the blows and the guy would hold back a jab and sell it to us for a discount. We knew damn well this could get the worker and us shot or at least beat the fuck down by the gang security but greed always won out. Those were the best blows you could get, too. They threw very little cut on that shit that they used for pass outs. On those mornings the Chicago fire dept stayed busy pickin up junkies around the area that fell out from the raw ass dope. That was the best advertising the dealers could get.

Me and Dayday headed back to Cicero ave and up to Madison where the harm reduction needle exchange was. Every time I went in there the black guy that ran the place would give me the run around asking to see my card and making me fill out and initial forms before he would finally give me one single pack of rigs and a couple of cookers. Dayday would go in there and shake up with the brother and just wipe em out. He would emerge with 2 boxes of needles and a fucking grocery bag of cookers, cottons, alcohol swabs and several bottles of narcan. Later, he would post up at the trap house and sell all that shit off to the junkies a dollar at a time. Cheap bastard! After that we headed over to the Citgo station and split up the blows in the alley out back. Dayday said he would call me in a few days when he got the word about when and where the next pass out was goin down. I bummed him a smoke and headed back to Cicero. It was time to get well.

That's my life right now. A daily race to keep up with the addiction that afflicts me. I know something better is waiting down the road but for right now I'm just chasing it down the street.


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