Epidemic- Chapter 2
As I sit in my car, embracing my nod, I am startled by a tap on my window. My asshole boyfriend, Eric, is attempting to get into the car with me, (most likely because he cannot survive or feed his own addiction without using me). Foolishly, I unlock the door to let him in. Despite his abuse, it feels better than being alone. Immediately, he starts calling me a selfish bitch and asking me where his shot is. He is angry that I have gotten high without him. The thing is, he never brings anything to the table. He doesn’t hustle at the gas stations. He doesn’t lose sleep scheming people for a few bucks. In fact, more often than not, he lays his chair back and nods out while I stay on the grind, (On the grind means hustling money).
He only wakes up to criticize my attempts and downplay the amount of cash and gas I have hustled. It doesn’t matter if I score a full tank of gas and $100 for our dope, he will put me down and call me names. He has to remain in control and for some sick reason, I let him. After he screams at me for getting high without him, I pull out my junkie kit and break off a piece of tar, apologizing for feeding my addiction without him. I assure him that I saved him some. He smiles and immediately changes his tone, professing his love for me and apologizing for being angry. He explains it away with how sick he felt, I understand the sickness of the dark and decide to prepare myself another small shot so we can get high together.
He pulls out his own baggie filled with little crystals and smiles at me as he shakes it back and forth in front of my face. He has scored some clear (meth) and we are going to take goofballs. A Goofball on the West Coast is mixing meth and heroin in your rig. On the East Coast they mix cocaine and heroin and call it a Speedball. From my understanding it creates a similar high. Eric doesn’t like that I bang, (shoot up). Despite the fact that he is the one who stuck the needle in my arm for my first time, he verbally abuses me through every step of preparing and taking our shots. I am so angry inside. He is such a hypocrite. He never smokes, snorts or eats his dope, he only bangs it. However, he screams at me to stop using needles and calls me a fucking disgusting, pathetic, junkie. Tears begin to stream down my face as I cook my dope and watch him do the same. He tells me how disgusting and weak I am, insisting I need help. He breaks off a crystal for me and throws it in my spoon, instructing me to use the back side of my rigs plunger. This will break it up in my heroin pool. (This is not my first time making a goofball but still he instructs me like a child).
He knows I have a hard time hitting myself, but he refuses to help me. He takes delight in watching me struggle to find a vein and comments how easy it is for him. I watch him get high on his first try. He is right, I could throw my rig like a dart and hit one of the massive, throbbing veins in his arms. I know better than to ask him for help, and turn from him, in an attempt to avoid his ridicule and distracting insults and abuse. My only hope is that he will be distracted by his own high long enough for me to find my vein. Otherwise, this will turn into an hour long event, filled with his incessant chatter about how pathetic and sick I am.
Success, the blood begins to fill my rig, as I pull the plunger back. I push slowly and smile at him, like I have accomplished something great. He comments on how it appears to be getting easier for me to hit now and then calls me a fucking piece of shit junkie. He leans in and kisses my cheek, tells me he loves me and asks me what the plan is. Of course, the plan is we need to find more money and dope. That is always the plan. The darkness in his eyes fades and he begins to ramble non-stop. It’s the clear. Something about him mixing poisons makes him much nicer than when he only has dark.
I am happy because I know he has more clear, so today is going to be a good day. He will be more affectionate and now that he has taken his first shot he will be less verbally abusive. I might make it the rest of today without crying and hating myself, even more than I already do without any help from him. I start the car and we head over to Isaac and Jenn’s flop house, for a chance to shower. We are always willing to trade a little clear, or at least smoke them out, for a hot shower in return. As I embrace the water streaming down my body, my paranoia, (side effect of the meth) begins to kick in and I swear I hear Eric conspiring with Jenn and Isaac about something. I let the shower continue to run and creep out, pressing my ear to the bathroom door. I attempt to hear what is being said. I can’t believe what I am hearing and my heart begins to race as I hear footsteps walking towards the door. I rush back into the shower just as Eric enters the bathroom.
I stand in the shower waiting for Eric to say something. I can’t be sure but I swear I heard him conspiring with Isaac and Jenn about stealing my vehicle and selling it to Junkyard Justin, then splitting the money for shards. Shards is a street name for crystal meth. I am panicked, outraged and truthfully, a little scared.
Junkyard Justin’s family owns a junkyard and I have heard them talking about stealing cars for parts or swapping out plates on stolen vehicles so they are legit, but I do not know anything about that. I refrain from engaging in those conversations because I don’t want any part of it. I am sick but I still know God and cannot bring myself to steal. Not yet anyway.
The meth has my brain completely scrambled and I am so lost in the dope scene, I do not know if I am being paranoid and hearing things or if what I heard was real. My heart races as Eric moves the shower curtain, tilts his head and looks up towards me with that big, flirty smile. I should have never told him how much I loved when he looks at me that way. He manipulates me with it all the time. He wants to take another shot and he knows I have it stashed. I have to hide it from him or he will steal it from me and leave me sick. I cannot afford to be dope sick when I have to make moves to get money so that we don’t run out of dope. Even the clear doesn’t help you when you are dope sick. In fact, sometimes it makes it worse.
Isaac is adamant about heroin being the devil and doesn’t allow it or needles in his house. He knows Eric bangs but he doesn’t know that I have started banging too. There are three circles that we kick it in. One circle uses both meth and heroin, but never needles. One circle is as dirty as we are. They do it all. And then there is Jenn and Isaac’s circle, which are strictly tweakers. This means they only use meth and they hate heroin and needles.
Even among heroin users there is a negative stigma attached to rigs and the junkies that use them. I use to be bias, justifying my heroin use as a smoker, but now I am a junkie who hides in bathrooms to stab at my arms too.
My mind is racing and my jaw is jacking. Jaw jacking is something tweakers do when they are really high on meth and are moving their jaw fast or grinding and clenching it. Eric gets into the shower as I get out to prepare our shots. I ask him what they had been talking about while I was in the shower and he mutters a response of nothing. I am way too paranoid and tweaking balls. I don’t want Isaac or Jenn to hear me talking and I feel like they can hear everything. I am so paranoid that despite the fact the water is running and they have music on now, I quietly unzip my junkie kit and unwrap the tar. I cannot do anymore clear, I need to level my high. I decide to question Eric further in the car. That is the one spot where we can be alone, but what if they have bugged my car? I am sitting here in the bathroom and for all I know they could be wiring my car with bugs to spy on me right now! I can’t hear anything outside the door other than Tech 9 blaring through the speakers, (Tech 9 is a Hip Hop artist). What if they turned the music on so I can’t hear them go outside to bug my car?
Oh my God, I am tweaking hard. I hate this feeling. Why do I do this to myself? Am I going crazy? What if they have a camera and microphone in the bathroom? I can’t tell what is real anymore. I creep over to the door and try to listen for any signs of commotion on the other side. My brain is in overload with questions and my mind can’t decipher between reality and speculations about my environment anymore. I begin looking around the bathroom for possible cameras and microphones. Like a broken record, I hear the three of them plotting to steal my vehicle, my home, and my only way of making money for me and selling it for drugs. Did I hear correctly or was that just the voices in the walls? The voices I know are not really there, despite my continuous attempts to listen to them. Eric turns off the shower and laughs at me when he sees how badly I am tweaking. He reassures me that everything is OK and encourages me to go ahead and take another goofball with him. I know I should just do a shot of heroin because my brain is in tweaker overload and I need opiates to level my high. However, I crush a crystal into my shot too.
As I tie off, I begin questioning to myself why Eric wants me to take another goofball when he can see I am geeked. Geeked means, high as fuck. I know it, I know it now. He is planning on stealing my car! As if he was able to read the concern on my face and feel the panic emanating from my entire being, Eric asks me politely if I am able to hit myself or if I need help. Something is not right here. Why is Eric being so nice? Why is he willing to help me hit my vein, when he is so adamant about never doing that again? I can’t refuse his help. My hands are trembling from the shards and the anxiety brewing in my soul. I accept his help and lean my head into his shoulder as he pokes at my arm three times before successfully hitting a vein. Eric kisses my forehead and asks if I want to go park at the lake. It is beautiful outside and he knows the water is my favorite place to be. I prefer the ocean but the lake is close by. I ask him why he is being so nice to me and tell him I want to go, elaborating I will put my makeup on in the car. I need to get out of this bugged house. I can’t stand the suspicions and constant paranoia this high brings.
He concurs and knows I need time to write. I need to write it all out so that I can feel better. I am overwhelmed, filled with fear and uncertainty and disgusted with myself for where I am at today. When we arrive at the lake, we park under my favorite tree. Eric pulls out his headphones for his musical escape and I pull out a notebook and start writing frantically. My mind drifts to my daughter briefly. I miss her terribly but I won’t allow myself to think about her too much, or I will hate myself even more and it will completely kill my buzz. I am a horrible mother. I abandoned my beautiful angel. My father and stepmother care for her. I know she is being cared for above and beyond, but I know I fucked up and I don’t know how to get home. Oh God, I just want to go home.
I write about my fears and concern about what I may have heard earlier today, with regards to my car being stolen. I know Eric reads my notebook sometimes. As I am writing, I constantly catch his gaze following my ink, as it scribbles rapidly across the pages. I watch for his facial expressions to change or his body language to become agitated.
As I suspected, Eric was reading and his face freezes in awe. His mouth drops open. He rips his headphones from his ears and grabs my notebook from my hand so quickly, a paper cut causes three fingers to instantly, sting and bleed! After a frantic scan of the page, Eric looks at me and admits through his heavy breathing, he knows without a doubt that Jenn and Isaac’s house has been bugged.