Epidemic- Chapter 3
As his anxiety builds, Eric begins speed talking and throwing his hands around in a panic. I try to follow but my own mind is racing with speculations, drowning out his voice. About a month ago Eric and I had lived upstairs at Isaac and Jenn’s home. Back then I was still trying to pull myself out of the dark and had gotten a waitress gig. This was my attempt to make legitimate money again and clean up for my daughter. Eric was always ranting about the meth heads coming in and out of the house and insisted they were plotting against us. None of them liked Eric. For the most part they were nice to me. However, the majority of them were of the male species and all made attempts to try and lure me away from Eric for themselves. Eric was always jealous. Especially with my honest confessions about their attempts. I had been a follower of Christ not so long ago and honesty was still a driving force in my way of living.
One day when I came home from work, all of my belongings had been stolen from my room. I was outraged! Eric used a piece of plywood to make a door and screwed it shut each time we left the house due to his fears concerning this. He had been out on the streets for much longer and insisted I could trust no one. I was so naive. I didn’t steal and truly believed that because I was not a thief and was bringing legitimate money into the house, that these people would not steal from me. I came home to find the ghetto ass, plywood door ripped from the wall and hanging loosely by a few screws. Eric had nothing, so really it was all of my belongings that had been taken including: clothes, shoes, perfumes, stereo equipment, sheets, pillows and they even took my 24 pack of toilet paper! I had hidden it behind the love seat because the unbelievable amount of traffic in and out of the house each day, left the roll constantly empty. Now, I had nothing. How spoiled I had been before? Isaac and Jenn insisted they knew nothing, elaborating there were people in and out of the house all day and they heard nothing. They alleged they had been asleep.
Meth heads asleep? I knew they were lying. The amount of stuff that had been taken would have required multiple trips down the creaking stairs of the old house. In addition, there was no way they wouldn’t have heard the door being unscrewed and ripped off. I cried hysterically that night. Eric called me a dumb bitch, fool and a goodie two shoes newbie to the game. I was humiliated and angry. Why would I ever go back to that house? I still need to shower. My mind slows down and I interrupt Eric to ask why he suspected the house was bugged. The house had been raided twice, prior to my living there and he insisted when the DEA was there, they had wired the walls with cameras and microphones.
Even in my state of paranoia, this story is difficult to swallow. I knew the house had been raided. There was evidence of that. Police had ripped apart the walls, leaving holes as evidence. However, was I to truly believe they had wired the place? There is always police positioned across the street at the gas station. They come in shifts. Keeping the house under constant surveillance, as traffic pours in and out each day.
How far fetch is Eric’s belief? I need a shot to calm my nerves and this time I am only banging H, (H=Heroin). Eric concurs as I prepare to split the last of the tar into two equal pieces. Eric rips at my hand in an attempt to grab the H, claiming he has a higher tolerance and deserves more. This is not an uncommon argument. In fact, it has become a daily norm, each time we are splitting the last of the dope. I argue that I am always the one hustling the money, so technically it is my dope and he should feel fucking grateful that I would completely support his habit. He argues I am a selfish bitch who wouldn’t survive the streets alone and that I need him, so I should pay my dues!
I just don’t want to be alone. Sleeping in my car, parked at the park and ride. Going into dope houses by myself, when they are filled with disgusting men, gawking at me. I feel some sense of security with Eric by my side, despite the fact I hate him.
Still, I know he is using me, but I guess, in a way, I am using him too. I tie my arm off and attempt to stick a vein. Eric hits his monstrous vein immediately and this time does not spare me his abusive tongue. He belittles me with each devastating attempt and failure to connect my poison with a vein. Blood lightly seeps from many failed attempts as he calls me a fucking piece of shit junkie who disgusts him. I scream at him to shut the fuck up so I can concentrate. He threatens to take my rig and jam it into my neck. He grabs my cigarettes from my purse, takes one out and throws the pack at my face, before stepping out of my vehicle. The hard, cardboard, corner of the pack pokes me in the eye. This causes me immediate pain, discomfort and tears. He sits on the hood of my car, still spatting insults. His back is to me. He lets me know it is intentional because he can’t watch my pathetic junkie behavior.
The darkness is consuming me again. I weep silently at first but after about 45 minutes of failed attempts and constant ridicule, my silence becomes muffled sobs and frustrating shrieks. I remove my shoe and sock, cringing at the idea of sticking my foot repeatedly. The foot is such a sensitive place to bang, but I am desperate. I stab repeatedly but continuously go too deep, penetrating through the vein. It is excruciating pain, bloodying up my foot. I remove my other shoe and sock. Eric pounds on my windshield, as he continues to taunt me. Finally, blood begins to trickle into my rig. I know I haven’t made a perfect connection but an hour and a half later, I am desperate and begin to push. My skin begins to raise and bubble, at the injection site. As I had suspected I was not completely in.
FUCK! I have just wasted a portion of my last shot of dope and now there is blood in my rig. I need to hit quickly or the entire shot will be compromised. I stab at my hand, another extremely sensitive area. After three failed attempts, I finally watch the barrel fill with blood and push my demon in. Eric watches as the blood fills the rig and turns his head away. He hops back into the car and insists I look at my arms and feet. There is a light sprinkling of blood, oozing from all my misses. I beg him to please not ruin my high. My phone rings. It is Ty and he sounds tweaked out of his mind. He insists we need to come to his and Julie’s trailer immediately. I attempt to understand why; however, he swears he can’t tell me on the phone and that I am in danger. He instructs me to please hurry. I start the car and Eric and I make our way to Ty’s trailer. My mind is clouded. What did he mean when he said I was in danger?
We arrive at Ty’s trailer. I hate it here. The trailer is located on the property of this perverted old meth head man, who I caught peeping through the window at me once while I was going to the bathroom! There are also three mangy mutts, who are so filthy that despite my love of dogs, I refuse to touch them at all. The property is cluttered with garbage and filth. I can hear the rats squeaking and rummaging. Ty and Julie come out of their little, hitch style trailer to greet us. Julie runs up to give me a hug and tell me through her ridiculously phony smile and fake sentiment how much she loves me and is happy to see me. Complete girl code for I talk shit behind your back. In the junkie realm, at least.
Oh great, creepy old man Mark is coming out of his shack. No doubt, to panhandle a shard for his bowl, (Piece of meth to smoke for himself). Mark is a cluck who begs for shards by suggesting how sick he is and how broke he is, in an attempt to manipulate pity for a break off from our bag. I would be more disgusted by his obvious attempts. However, I have played the same game. Of course, I am a beautiful, young lady with a charming smile and seductive eyes, while his face is covered in scabs from picking and his teeth are rotting out of his mouth. I see my fate staring back at me if I choose to continue on this path. But, it is easier to judge him and deny that it would ever be me, than to accept the image of my future staring back at me.
Meth is a more social drug, in the sense that it is not uncommon for people to load a pipe and pass it around; whereas, heroin is more of a private drug you stash away because without it you get very sick. It is less common to share. Even so, Eric is greedy with both. He immediately begins spatting insults and dismissing Mark to go away. In turn, Mark claims it is his property and we have no right to be on it, if he doesn’t approve. I have the stash on me but I won’t pull my bag out in front of an audience. I have been that foolish before, alerting the masses to spread the word that I got good shit. The results? My phone immediately blowing up by fellow drug fiends wanting to get high on my supply. I excuse myself to the bathroom so I can pull out a shard for Mark and be rid of him. I need to know what Ty meant by being in danger and I don’t have time for this old mans show today. Eric’s eyes burn into mine, emanating extreme anger as I hand the shard to Mark. He wanders back towards his shack.
I avert from Eric’s stare and walk towards the trailer that Julie tries desperately to make look like a home. I know they will follow because it has become clear who is holding the drugs and they want to get high too. Even Eric, who is now angry and dispensing his usual verbal brutality, follows. He knows once inside we will smoke a bowl. We are out of tar, so the shards will keep us going until I hustle for more. Once inside the trailer, Ty produces a warbler. A Warbler is basically a bong for meth. My stomach turns a little at the sight of it. I remember a few months ago when I was only using meth. I was so desperate to get high that I actually drank some of the water from a warbler and while it got me high, it made me sick. Nevertheless, I produce the shards I had pulled from my bag in the bathroom for this smoke out and hand them to Ty to load. To my surprise, Ty pulls out his own bag of shards to match bowls. Julie is licking her lips and jacking her jaw. She’s already on one. On one means high. One thing I have noticed during my interaction with this underbelly of societal norms, is that in the drug subculture, it is not uncommon for women to be more obvious clucks. Myself included.
I am already high and I too, am chomping at the bit for my chance to hit the warbler and produce mega clouds.You’re never supposed to hold the smoke in like you do when smoking marijuana. But, several of us do. A big part of smoking meth, is taking monster hits to produce enormous clouds. Much like part of the thrill of using heroin, has become my addiction to the needle as well. I am just as addicted to the needle as I am to the dope itself. It is sick how quickly I have succumbed to this lifestyle. I am the shell of the woman I once was. Without reservation, I am actively doing things I swore, I would never in my life be a part of. Beneath the heavy fog of smoke that has filled the trailer, I listen as Julie begins to explain what Ty meant about my being in danger. There is a dealer, known as Red, (because of her insanely unnatural fire engine colored red hair) who has it out for me. She doesn’t like me at all and in fact is sleeping with the guy I was with before Eric, his name is Chris. Everyone insists that Red is dangerous and associated with the Mexican gang members. I have heard stories about her doing home invasions and tying people up. Pointing guns in their faces, while the gang cleans out their homes. In addition, she has been in and out of jail and has a reputation as being a snitch, so I don’t know what to believe.
I don’t have a criminal record. I have never been to jail and these are not the types of people I have associated with for most of my life, so this is completely foreign to me. I won’t admit it to this audience before me, but I am terrified by these allegations of her behavior and the reputation that she embraces without shame or remorse.
I have been the driver for Red a few times. Taking her around for her “errands” in exchange for gas money and shards. I never liked the bitch. I always knew she liked Chris and she flirted with him without hesitation in my presence. One day she wanted to hit a lick for a come up and I refused to be any part of it. Hit a lick means robbing someone/place. For a come up means getting money or things to sell for dope from the robbery. In fact, she wanted to rob another dealer and I absolutely refused to be a driver, despite her promises of money and a huge break off of the shards. Chris liked her plan and was accustom to that lifestyle and jail time himself. He and I argued about it and he went her way and I went my own.
Now Julie is confirming that Red has a problem with my refusal to be coerced and is waging a war against me. I act tough. I repeat, I act tough and heatedly announce I don’t give two shits about that bitch and that she doesn’t scare me. Inside, however, I am terrified. As Ty loads the next bowl, Julie’s phone rings. Her reaction to the voice on the other line produces an expressionless face. Julie’s face quickly changes to a panic, accompanied with an overly delightful smile. She mutes the phone to hush us and inform us it is Red on the line and she is going to put her on speaker. She instructs us to be quiet. I listen as Red asks Julie if Ty is with her and if so if they would be interested in hitting a lick with her. She needs them because Ty has a vehicle and she needs a driver. I watch Julie, with a piercing stare as I hear Red elaborate, that the lick is a little ways down south in my home town! My mouth drops and my heart begins to beat rapidly. My heartbeats become so frantic, I swear it’s close to pounding completely out of my chest. Red is talking about doing a home invasion on my house! More alarming, my father’s house! I didn’t anticipate this kind of danger. How will I get out of this one?