Epidemic- Chapter 24
The nerve of this guy. He calls me up time and time again and acts like nothing has happened between us. Why do I keep answering my phone for him? In fairness, I didn’t realize who was on the other line of this particular phone call but I digress, I would have answered it had I known it was him and I hate myself for it. Angie immediately instructs me to hang up and begins screaming in the direction of my phone at Eric. She calls him a complete loser and asshole and I attempt to shush her. Why? Because I don’t want to deal with the repercussions later. My heart sinks. By admitting that to myself, I have already committed to picking him up.
Eric is laughing at Angie and I am caught in the middle of her screaming and him laughing. I tell him we are at the store in the middle of a trade for Angie and he expects me to leave her and come get him. Angie crosses her arms and taps her foot, waiting for me to respond. I do but not in the way she may have expected, as I hang up the phone, silence it and walk into the store. We stroll through the aisles and she puts groceries in the cart while inquiring about what it was that Eric wanted. After I explain the details of the situation and she realizes that she might get a cut of the loot if she were to help, her attitude changes to one of compliance with Eric’s wishes.
My phone is blowing up in my pocket and she wants me to answer it and propose that she will help lift the generator into my vehicle, but insists that whatever we score from it is split three ways. What a backstabbing, selfish, greedy fake ass bitch. On the one hand she criticizes my involvement with him and on the other she sees an opportunity to benefit from him being around and wants in on it. It’s disgusting and despicable and it’s exactly what I would do. Eric isn’t going to want Angie to be involved on any level, I know this but in order for him to have help lifting the generator, he might allow for it. He agrees to it after I explain it in that context. Angie and I quickly race through the store grabbing her soda, top ramen and a plethora of other junk foods to curb her opiate hunger. At the checkout, there is about $15 over the $150 in groceries we agreed on and she attempts to put things back. I stop her and tell the cashier it is fine and to just ring them up. She does let me shower in her home. It was her dope connection. She continues to allow me to crash there when Eric and I are fighting, despite how irritated she is by him and I appreciate all of these things. In real life, I would not hesitate to help a friend out with a little extra. There would be no stigma attached to being generous. In fact, in real life, doing things to help a friend is second nature. In junkie life, we cling to stingy. In junkie life, it’s all about me. In real life $15 is nothing, in junkie life $15 is the difference between being sick and getting well. Angie hugs me tightly and I realize, its been a long time that someone has likely treated her as a friend.
For most she is the booster, the place to crash, the dope connection and partner in crime, but I don’t know of anyone who hangs around her without expecting something from her. That’s the cold, hard truth about this life. No one is really your friend. You think the dealer who appeases you with some chit chat and possible smoking session is your friend? No. Money is all that dealer wants. They might smoke you out but it’s because they want to get high and you have provided a place for them to do so while they are on the go making moves, (selling dope) or they want you to know how good their shit is so you be sure to invest in more or don’t notice that the bag they sold you is underweight for what you paid.
Do you think the circle of people you find yourself rotating in are your friends? No. Don’t get it twisted, (be mistaken). The minute someone in that circle sees an opportunity to get something from you, it is going to get got, (be taken from you). Every single person who is in your life at the time is using you for something. Either you got a car and they need to get around, a house and they need a place to chill, dope and they need to get high or any other of a number of commodities they are seeking to benefit from. The minute shit hits the fan, they will turn on you. They will steal from you, lie to you and if you think for one second that if something goes down and they are presented with an option to snitch on your ass to get themselves off the hook, you are a damn fool if you believe they will not take the deal and save their own ass.
This realization should be enough for someone as intelligent as myself to not be a part of taking this generator with Eric and Angie. Having my name in papers, documenting that I was a part of robbery, theft or burglary, (I am not sure which charge this is considered because I have no criminal record) is not what I am looking for in life. Nevertheless, we load the car and drop the groceries at Angie’s. We both want to get high before heading out, only I want to take a shot and Angie is bothered by it. She insists that I was perfectly fine smoking it with her and doesn’t understand why I need to stick the needle in my arm. There is no way to explain it to her. Of course, I was alright smoking it when that was the only option, but when given the opportunity to take a shot in the privacy of an apartment, you better believe my ass is going to take it.
She asks me to leave the door to the bathroom cracked so we can talk while we are getting high. She sits on her bed and loads her foil. The tar is sticky between my fingers, as I take my razor blade to it to secure a decent sized piece to toss in my spoon. After I pull a small amount of water into my rig, I drizzle it over the heroin in my spoon. The flame of my Bic, dances back and forth under it and I watch as the dope melts into its delightful puddle of intoxicating poison. Because I have fresh Q-tips in my junkie kit, I tear a small piece of cotton from one end and watch as the pool absorbs into it. Slowly, I pull the demon into the barrel of my lover. Thankfully, I have a rig with a longer needle, so it shouldn’t be as difficult for me to shoot it.
Angie is done smoking and asking why it is taking me so long. She doesn’t understand the dope ritual. Each step of prepping your shot and shooting that shit is seductive. It’s erotic and like foreplay before sex, it is necessary to relish each step, taking your time before going straight to the climax, (pushing the shot in). The blood mixes in the barrel, this is my favorite part of the foreplay. Perhaps, because it is so difficult for me to hit that I know I have finally achieved it. The blood pooling with the heroin, is right about the time a woman tells a man, don’t stop because they are on point with the target. Pushing the demon in my portal of pleasure and punishment, sends an immediate taste to the back of my throat and I know this shit is good. My head leans back and I lick at my lips before removing the needle from my arm.
My phone vibrates with Eric’s persistence and I answer it to appease the excessive interruption. He is furious and wondering why the hell it is taking me so long. He doesn’t know I have scored any heroin and Angie has agreed not to tell him anything. She doesn’t care about him, she simply wants part of whatever the generator brings in. He isn’t interested in hearing any excuses as to why we are not already there and I laugh at him and tell him if he wants me to show up, he better chill the fuck out. There is a new Lizzy in town and she is not putting up with his bullshit anymore. I’m feeling it. Oh man, I feel so good and fucking untouchable. This dope is pure fire. Eric can hate on me all he wants right now cause nothing is killing this high. Angie encourages me to hurry up but I am allowing the devil to fully course through my veins with his sweet, intoxicating seduction. The temptation to sit down on the couch and nod is there but I know I need to go before both Eric and Angie start tripping, (getting upset).
Once inside my vehicle, Angie requests we listen to Ayo for Yayo, by Andre Nickatina. It’s one of our favorite songs and we will play it over and over again singing and dancing around in the car like fools. The thought occurs to me on the way to grab Eric that he couldn’t have moved that generator himself and he doesn’t have a phone, so what is he not telling me? Who else is on this? Angie and I pull up to find Eric chilling with our acquaintance Tyler. There is no time to argue or get upset about not being told about Tyler being in on this too, as we need to hurry up and get it loaded and out of here. It is after all, daylight. Tyler has always been nice to me and in fact, has come to my defense several times when Eric has been verbally abusive towards me.
We have to fold the back seat down to load it into the car. I say we but in truth, I am standing outside the vehicle, smoking a cigarette and tripping. There is no part of this that isn’t terrifying to me. I don’t want any part of it. Apparently, Tyler knows someone who wants it right now but in order for all four of us to pile into the car both Eric and Tyler are sitting illegally in the back seat not belted in around this stolen generator. It is daylight and we need to drive two towns away. Here comes the dreaded words again, square bear. Even Angie, chimes in and confirms that I am acting real childish and continues to call me the worst criminal she has ever seen. Criminal? I am a criminal? My heart is racing a mile a minute and I freak out and scream for everyone to shut the fuck up and get in the car. Why did I agree to come here? Who is the owner of this generator? What am I involved in and why? I have $300 on my EBT card, (food stamps). There is no need for me to be out here doing this. What if we get caught? There is a chance I would go to jail. I have never been to jail before. Up until now I have never been any part of this type of lifestyle. Yeah, I use drugs. If I were to be caught with them on me, I guess I would get charged but that feels out of my control. I can’t control my addiction. It’s a sickness, right? But I can still choose not to be out there stealing from people and committing other crimes. Why am I making this choice? Am I still a mindless sheep guilt tripped by peer pressure? After all these years, I still can’t say no? The illness is more than my addiction, there is something really broken inside of me.
Tyler pulls out a pipe and loads it with some crystal. Why not? The pipe’s rotation finds it’s way to me. Angie lights and rotates the bubbler, (pipe) for me so all I have to do is inhale and blow clouds. Trying to light the crystals and rotate the pipe while I am driving is near impossible; however people with longer legs have been known to steer with their knees while smoking it themselves. That is not an option for someone who is barely five feet tall. Tyler leads me down some back country roads and I feel more at ease about the trip. We pull into what appears to be a junkyard. There are several run down cars and multiple trailers on the property. We are met by a herd of dirty, mangled mutts, excited to see us. Tyler asks that Angie and I wait in the car, insisting the guy doing the trade doesn’t welcome strangers. We are reluctant. If we are not involved in the deal, we have no way of knowing what has been offered and neither one of us trust the boys to be honest about it. At this point, I want out of the deal. There is money on my card, dope in my pocket and I don’t feel the desperation I need to be convinced that this is alright.
There is no time to argue, so Angie and I remain in the car while Tyler and Eric disappear into a mobile home. There are several people on the property and it feels as though all eyes are on us. A glance in my rear view mirror, shows the boys walking out of the trailer and back to a big building that is likely a shop up the gravel drive. It appears they are being led to the guy they have come to meet; however, we are unable to hear what is going on. If sitting in a parking lot for three hours seemed arduous, sitting parked on this property with no idea what is going on or who these people watching us for nearly 45 minutes now, feels worse. Angie suggests we go find the boys. There are dogs running all over the place, shady looking spectators surrounding us and I am uncertain if walking around on a property we were not welcomed on, is such a good idea. In fact, I know it’s not. The temptation to do a shot kicks in. While there are spectators, they are walking by or in the vicinity of the vehicle for brief moments, it is not as if they are leaning on the car or chilling on the fence posting watch. In truth, it is the crystal that is causing this horrendous paranoia and I want to counteract it with dope. Who am I kidding? It’s the needle I am craving.
It is amazing how you can protest the idea of needle use and dismiss the notion with statements suggesting you do not like needles, or that you have a fear of them, only to end up using them. Really think about it. When do you come in contact with needles during life? When you get a shot from the doctor. Of course, no one enjoys getting a shot. It is only natural for you to have initial fears and reservations about them. It doesn’t take long before part of your biggest joy in getting high, is feeling that needle penetrate your skin. When you have a successful hit, there is something erotic about feeling the tip push through the skin and connect with the vein. There is a slight prick, (if you aren’t going through scar tissue, that hurts like hell) and then watching the blood mix with the dope in the barrel of the rig can be as exciting as getting naked for sex. You know what is coming next, the orgasm of pushing it in. Instant fulfillment and gratification. My mouth salivates at the idea.
Of course, it would not be wise to break out my junkie kit. Angie detests needles, we are on a property unfamiliar to me, there are people sporadically walking by and I have no idea when the boys will show up. If I am in the midst of prepping a shot when they show up, Eric would flip the fuck out. In addition, if they walk up with the guy to grab the generator and he detests needles. It would be all bad. It has now been an hour and fifteen minutes and the temptation is growing. In turn, Angie wants to light up a foil. We are in agreement, we both want to taste our dope. We decide we will take turns and be each others look out. It will be much easier and quicker for Angie to hit the foil. She encourages me to substitute a shot by hitting the foil with her.
There is no way to accurately portray or describe the difference between hitting the foil and taking a shot and I don’t want to spark curiosity in her by attempting to convey how fucking awesome the needle is and how the foil doesn’t cut it anymore. Think Twilight. The reference Edward relays to Bella about how as a vampire sustaining on animal blood versus human blood, is like a human only eating tofu versus meat. It holds you over, but you are not as satisfied with the substitution. That is true for me with the needle. Yes, smoking heroin will help me to feel better and not be sick; however, it is the tofu on the table and when I have a medium rare steak on a silver platter, (the needle) waiting for me to gnaw on it. Why the hell would I scoop tofu on to my plate? I wouldn’t.
Of course, I don’t make this analogy for Angie. As I stated, I don’t want to spark curiosity or hype up needles to her. As great as steak is for me, she is content with tofu. Why would I introduce her to the destruction my steak brings with it? As I pull out my junkie kit the word hypocrite rings throughout my paranoid mind. Part of the reason I was enticed to try needles was from watching Eric stick them in his arm and here I am attempting to do the same thing in front of Angie. I twist the rig back and forth between my fingers, weighing my options and contemplating the damage this shot could do before tossing it back into my bag.
Angie instructs me to hurry up and I meet her instruction with my own, advising her to give me a foil instead. While I load a small piece of sticky tar onto the foil, I build up her intuition about her being right. There is no reason to risk taking a shot and it would be easier and best for me to hit the foil instead. She smiles, as I really play up her angle. Meanwhile inside, I am itching to be alone with my rig. As fate would have it, Angie’s intuition was correct. The boys are walking towards the car with an old man and I scramble to conceal the foil. This man looks older than my father. What is he doing using drugs and buying stolen property? Is this my future? Angie sprays my miniature bottle of car Febreeze, in an attempt to cover the smell.
The back doors open and the boys unload the generator before thanking the old man, entering the vehicle and closing the doors behind them. Eric is adamant that we get going. As we make our way off the property, Angie expresses her outrage about how long we were sitting in the car. Tyler tells her it was worth it and pulls out $500 cash. We look at each other and laugh. We Googled how much they were worth and know that they had to have made more money off of it than $500. Tyler and Angie argue back and forth while I drive back towards town. Eric is silent, but I can see him in my rear view mirror and I know they are lying. I too, am angry, but I am paranoid and in the drug world you never know what you are going to get. It is possible they settled for less than they could have gotten and Angie and I have no idea what transpired in that shop. Without warning, Angie pulls out a knife and points it at Tyler. My heart stops. What the fuck is she doing? She instructs me to pull over and insists that we are going to search the boys at knife point.