Epidemic- Chapter 29
Oh my God! It’s Marcos. His eyes are dark and cold. I can feel his stare. Penetrating my soul. My heart begins to race and my eyes divert back to my machine. My finger is pushing the button. The reels are turning, but my vision is blurred out of focus on any pays I might be receiving. I am frozen with fear and apprehension about what may come next. Marcos comes over and sits by me. He asks how I have been. This is the time to respond to the question, but my mouth won’t open to speak. He instructs me to relax. Has he been following me still? Or is this meeting pure chance?
How can I relax? My mind drifts back to the memory of the time we shared in the motel room. His eyes fixated on me. As I called each member of my family to say goodbye. My hands begin to tremble. He let me go. Surely. By now, he must know that I had nothing to do with the set up he believes occurred at the failed home invasion? It was not a set up, after all. I know why I was there. God led me there. I can still hear the Holy Spirit moving me to go south instead of north on that freeway passing. Had I not obeyed that direction, my father’s house would likely have been robbed of everything. My being there, frightened these thugs.
Marcos puts his hand over mine and again reassures me, I am alright and to relax. He begins to talk to me. As if, we were friends. He asks me why I am still up here and elaborates that he thought I would have returned home to my daughter by now. That is a sore spot in my heart and I won’t allow myself to feel anything about our separation right now. Tyler has made his way over to us. He interrupts with an inquiry for more money, but I tell him I am tapped out. He actually asks me to cash out whats left on the ticket in my machine and give him half! It is at this moment I realize, Tyler has a gambling problem. No wonder his girlfriend never wanted him to go to the casino. He is tweaking tough. His jaw is jacking. His pupils are like large, black olives. His body sways back and forth and he avoids eye contact, knowing the annoyance of his request.
Marcos excuses himself, but not before patting my shoulder and telling me I should go home soon. My heart slows down. Does this guy actually care about me? Or perhaps, about my daughter? As quickly as I stumbled across him, he is gone. Tyler is still swaying and asks again, only this time he only wants two bucks. It is obvious. I need to get him out of the casino. I inquire as to whether or not he has any money left and he admits, he spent it all. Now he has no dope money. It didn’t concern him, as he still has dope and crystal. Thinking ahead, he will regret his decision tomorrow. He is relentless with his requests and has even dropped his request to one dollar. Wow. This is pathetic. I recognize this awful behavior from my days working at a casino.
Towards the end of the night, there were people who would make their rounds to all the machines and collect pennies. Sometimes, when people do not have enough money left on their ticket for a final spin, they get off of the machine and leave their few cents in it. Tweakers and gambling addicts, would hit the cash out button and collect two cents here and three cents there. After a round through the casino, they might have fifteen cents for them to take one spin somewhere and hope they hit it big. I never understood that level of addiction. I understand it now. Not with gambling, but the heroin has that type of hold on me. The thing about addiction is, it manifests in many ways. Out of pure frustration, I surrender the rest of my pathetic ten dollar ticket to Tyler and stare blankly at his screen, while I drift off into thought.
For people who have never used drugs, or been hooked to them, it is difficult for them to understand. They take personal offense to your lack of responsibility, inconsistency and naturally, the lying and manipulating that goes along with finding your next fix. They see you neglecting your children, abandoning your faith and pulling away from them, but they can’t understand. You don’t want to do any of those things, but the drug has such a hold on you, you are no longer you, anymore. They will beg and plead with you to look at yourself. Without realizing you have been numbing yourself to avoid that reflection. You can’t see who you have become. Because you never really knew who you were. Something in your life has caused you so much guilt or pain, you are escaping it. Rather than confronting it. They can’t make you see what they see in you, because you have never seen it in yourself. For as long as I can remember I have been numb. Sure the heroin has a hold of me now, but before that there was: alcohol, weed, ecstasy, cocaine, pain pills, shrooms, acid and anything else I could get my hands on. Of course, I was always a functioning addict until now. I held a job, paid my bills and even managed to excel into my senior year of college. It’s the darkness the heroin brings that is killing me now.
Tyler has lost all the money left on the ticket, betting three cents here and five cents there. He wants to play more, but I insist we need to go back to the hotel. Besides, I am ready to do another shot. The mention of a shot, sparks Tyler’s compliance. We have to be careful about doing dope in the parking lot of the casino. There are cameras everywhere and people we know have been busted. Tyler doesn’t give a shit and breaks out his dope. I however, care enough to refuse this idiocy. Why would I risk this when it takes all of two minutes to drive up the road and pull off to a more secluded spot? I wouldn’t. While Tyler fights to level his spoon while I make the short drive, I rejoice in the fact I already prepped my shot.
It absolutely looks suspicious, to be parked on the side of the road. Car running and dome light on, but I risk it for my dope fix. I’ve already planned my story. If a cop were to pull up. It’s simple really. It is unlawful to be on your cell phone while driving and I had to pull over and flip my dome light on to access Google maps. In fact, I pull up the location of the motel within it. So that if a cop pulls up, I can show him I was routing the directions on my phone before pulling out onto the freeway. It’s fool proof. With each passing vehicle, my heart skips a beat. Thankfully, the cars pass without concern of what I am up to.
Tyler is so fixated on what he is doing, I don’t dare ask him for help hitting. I poke and prod at my arm several times, before tying off my other arm. No luck. I close my fist and open it back up repeatedly. Hoping to pump some blood to my veins, so that they will surface. Tyler asks me if I want him to hit my neck. That would mean the needle would be visible to anyone passing by. This is not a good idea and I refuse to give up so easily. He thinks he can help connect to a vein in my hand and I pass him my rig. The hand is such a sensitive spot, that with each miss, I let out a painful yelp. He finally connects and I thank him before we are on our way.
Once we arrive back at the motel, he decides to take a shower. While he showers, I can’t help but rummage through his pockets. As I pick through his belongings, I realize, how I have fallen. A month ago, I would never have invaded someones privacy like this. In fact, if I witnessed someone else behaving this way, I would attempt to stop them. It is the square bear nature in me. What am I going to do, if I stumble across any money or drugs? His bag of crystal is in his coat pocket and without second guessing it, I steal a decent size shard from it, to hold onto for later. What am I doing? Tyler has been sweet and caring and now I am stealing from him. His comment about my owing him for breaking me off earlier, really angered me. I rationalize that I am taking back what is owed to me. How dare him suggest I owed him money to gamble with because he got me high. Fuck that. If I were stupid enough to leave my shit out while I was in the shower, I know he would be going through my things. He wouldn’t hesitate to take from me. The shower turns off and I quickly flip Twilight back on and jump onto the bed. My nerves are anxious, so I light a cigarette to calm them down. The bathroom door opens and Tyler calls out that he had forgotten to bring clean boxers into the bathroom with him. My eyes turn towards his voice. He walks around the corner butt ass naked. I’m talking, full frontal. My jaw drops as he asks me to toss him his backpack.
Oh my God! I’ve been rendered speechless. Tyler is full on showing me his junk without any qualms or shame! Whenever I find myself in an uncomfortable situation I behave one of two ways. Either I laugh nervously or I become very quiet, (this is a rare trait as i am a talker, loud and outspoken). The laughter bubbles inside of me for this uncomfortable moment. My arms begin frantically shielding my eyes, while I turn to find his backpack. I comment about his lack of at least wearing a towel and giggle about his freaking manhood just hanging out there. He has nothing to be modest about and I try my hardest to conceal my blushing.
He assures me he didn’t mean anything by it and that the motel towels were the size of washcloths, so he opted to say fuck it and just chill in the nude. This response causes me to laugh even harder. After I toss him his backpack, he turns to head back to the bathroom and wiggles his bare ass in my direction. Instructing me to get a good look, in a joking tone. While it is nice to have this motel room and relax, it is also kind of boring. If Eric were here, we would be doing the deed or fighting. Not that I enjoy fighting with him, in fact, I hate it; however, Tyler is so chill it’s a new atmosphere. There is truth in that saying about being uncomfortable in what’s not familiar to you. How sick that the unhealthiness of what is familiar, appears to be what I am longing for.
Tyler rejoins me on the bed. Only this time, he is fully clothed and laughing about my reaction to his junk. While I attempt to explain I wasn’t laughing at his stature. But, more the shock of him standing there without clothing on, he teases me about blushing and giggling like a school girl. He goes on to say that as hard as I try to come off as loud and outspoken, deep down, I am a shy introvert. He elaborates, the extrovert is there too, but it’s not the bigger part of me. How can he know this? Am I that easy to read? There are people that have been in my life for years, even family, that haven’t acknowledged my shyness and introverted side. I’ve been real good at being loud, so I didn’t have to be alone with my thoughts. But, in part, it has been a facade. A mask I wore to promote myself as fun and entertaining, without a care in the world or depressed bone in my body.
Tyler is being sweet and funny and all I can think about is how I just stole a crystal out of his bag of shards. Fuck. How pathetic and low am I? What is God thinking about me right now? Or has he dismissed me altogether? It’s absurd to think that way. I know better. Hell, I’ve taught better. Of course, God hasn’t abandoned me. I’ve turned my back to him, but he’s still behind me. It is unreal how I can believe this for others, but still, I can’t accept this truth for myself. God never abandons you. Even in your darkest hour, he is there, but I’ve been in hell for so long, I can’t feel him anymore.
We have made it through two of the Twilight movies and Eclipse is up. I love this one because Bella finally kisses Jacob and I am team Jacob all the way. It’s not that I don’t love Edward, (I’d rather be a vampire than a werewolf) but Jacob is so freaking hot, he should always be shirtless and in this movie he is. Tyler and I lean back and smoke a cigarette. He decides he should call his girlfriend, Shelly. They haven’t talked since their fight and he is beginning to feel bad about it. Shelly, is delighted to hear from him and happy to hear that Eric is in jail. She hates him. She always tells me that I deserve better than him. Tyler asks if we can go pick up Shelly and have her hang out here with us. Shelly has some dope to put in on our rendezvous, so I am alright with that. Especially, knowing Tyler blew his wad of cash at the casino.
The thing about tweakers is, we can’t sit still. Here we have the privacy and luxury of a motel room and yet, I feel the need to be out making moves. Sitting one place for too long is foreign to me. Shelly lives in Sedro and we are in Burlington. The only issue I have about getting her, is my fear that the cops might be looking for me. Sedro is where they picked up Eric and for all I know, I’m marked in that town. It’s unlikely that they are looking for me. I am sure these cops work together at keeping their eyes on the drug underworld in their cities. They are after all, in the same county. If I was wanted, Burlington PD would have likely came and picked me up by now.
When we arrive at Shelly’s house, we are greeted by her mother. Her mother is also a meth head, but she doesn’t fuck with tar. She immediately questions Tyler about having anything to smoke and he lies and tells her he doesn’t. She then turns to me and I apologize that I have nothing, before we make our way to Shelly’s room. Once inside, Shelly jumps up and locks the door. She is embarrassed by her begging mother. She screams through the door for her mom to get some sleep and stop soliciting her friends for drugs. Elaborating, about what a wonderful example she has set for her. It is sad. My father raised me and while he wasn’t always perfect, he would have never gotten drunk or high with me. I never knew him to use drugs. About the only parental fail in the drug department was back when he smoked cigarettes. He would leave his smokes lying around and ashtrays full of butts, making it easy for me to steal them and try them out. Of course, I was 11 years old when I first attempted to smoke a cigarette and my father being from a different time had no way of knowing kids were smoking at age 11. He quit smoking a long time ago and hates that I smoke now. It’s not his fault, but I think he might harbor some guilt for smoking around us growing up. I don’t think he realizes that I use to sneak his nasty Salem butts out of the ashtray, but I did.
Shelly is not ready to go yet. Of course not! Man, I hate druggies and their lack of time awareness. It took us nearly a half an hour to get here, why the fuck isn’t she ready? She asks if we want to take shots now or later. Duh, the answer is always now. Especially because she has a different batch of heroin than Tyler and I are holding on to. Mixing it up is my favorite way of getting high. Your body may begin to build a tolerance to the dope you are banging, so alternating with another strand guarantees a high. I want to get nodded out high again. Shelly asks if I have any clean rigs and I produce three new rigs from my junkie kit. She doesn’t have to question if they are clean because I have to rip into the plastic to access them. It is my last batch of clean rigs out of my large box from Walmart. This excites her and she asks if she can get two more for her and Tyler to hold onto for later. The bitch is getting me high, so I toss her two more.
Shelly melts the dope down into her spoon for their shots and tosses me a nice piece for my own. She inquiries about what we have been up to and Tyler tells her we had been driving around looking for Eric and then I let him shower at the motel before calling her. This is a lie and now I am in a position of having to go along with it. There is no mention of the casino, the Twilight, the kissing me or his full frontal revealing. Of course, I wouldn’t have divulged those details either. Although, I would have come up with something better than driving around looking for Eric for hours. Shelly laughs and asks me if I am alright with Eric being gone. Before I can answer, she apologizes for laughing, but explains that she loathes the way he treats me and she is happy that I am free of his persecution. Her and Tyler are pro’s at hitting and have no problem taking their shots. Shelly watches me struggle to find a vein and offers to help me hit. After repeated smacks on my arm, she ties it off tightly and connects right away. While I am delighted to watch the poison mix with my blood, I am frustrated that she had no problem and I struggle every time!
Slowly, she pushes the heroin in and removes the needle from my arm. She rubs the site of injection and comments about how badly bruised my arms are from failed attempts. Shelly puts her shoes on and packs a backpack with some clothing and her junkie kit. She wants to take a shower at the motel and I agree that isn’t a problem at all. We make our way back to the motel and Tyler and her are making out and whispering in my backseat. At first, I am paranoid about the whispering, but they are all in love and giggling, so I dismiss the paranoia. It feels like I am a freaking cab driver, but I tune them out with my music and light up a smoke. Once back at the motel, Shelly immediately strips down to shower. What the fuck is with these two and not caring that I see them naked? Shelly asks me if I want to take a shower with her. Oh my God! These two are freaks! Here comes that uncomfortable laughter again. She is serious. Tyler chimes in that he wants to watch and I can’t do anything but laugh and attempt to dismiss her request as being nothing more than a joke. Shelly tells me she is down to share Tyler with me if I am down to let her play with me. Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! My mind is rampant. I am blushing and I have no words to respond. I’ve just been invited to have a threesome.