Epidemic- Chapter 33
Eric immediately inquires as to my well being. In truth, I am still breathing heavily and a little panicked from the dog attack. He mistakes my heavy breathing with the panting of some wild romp in the sack. After I assure him repeatedly that I did not just have sex, he quiets his concerns and listens. I recant the details of what happened at Angie’s house. He is furious and tells me that I need to call animal control. The thought has crossed my mind. However, as foolish as it may seem, I loved that dog. I took care of Rex. He was always a lap puppy until today. The idea of being responsible for his death, is too much to assume for today.
Justin asks to bum a smoke causing Eric to get suspicious. He demands to know who is with me and again, questions if I was having sex. Justin senses the trouble his voice has caused and shouts out that nothing is going on between us. Eric demands to speak with Justin. Once on speaker phone, Justin reiterates that there is nothing sexually going on between the two of us. To my surprise, Eric thanks him for saving my life. They both agree that I need to call animal control and have Rex removed from the home. I suggest that I will consider it. Truth is, I absolutely should call animal control. I am not the first person Rex has attacked. What if I had been a child or fatally attacked? If I don’t report him, who else will be mauled?
Eric shifts the conversation quickly, as his time is running out. He asks me to get in touch with a guy in Anacortes that has an old SD card for a cell phone. He needs the numbers on that card. His uncle might be able to help him out. Anacortes is about a half hour away from where we are and I don’t know the area well. I have never met this guy he wants me to meet up with and I am a little leery about it. He assures me the guy is a fiend, but not dangerous. Justin agrees to go with me to meet up with the guy. Eric rambles off his phone number and tells me he is expecting my call. He expresses how grateful he is and how much he loves me before hanging up the phone. He sounds so different sober. Sweet, sincere and happy. It says a lot about the nature of heroin when being locked away and sober causes you to sound happier than being out on the streets banging dope.
After I call the guy about the SD card, he reports he can meet me closer to where I am at. Justin has done a shot of the shitty dope and agrees we need to unload it. He calls someone and we are going to meet them in the 7-11 parking lot after I grab the SD card. When we meet up with the guy Eric asks me to grab the card from, he is high and offers to fuck Justin and I up, (get us high). Fuck yes! Two free shots of dope. I love when people are balling, (have plenty dope) and are generous with it. It is a rare occasion with heroin. As he breaks off our points, he asks how Eric and I hooked up and how much I really know about him. A brief explanation later he warns me that Eric is a user and can be abusive. This causes me to literally burst out into laughter. Gee, you think? Memories of his Nike tread mark on my cheek resurface. My laughter causes him and Justin to soon follow with their own laughter. This guy wants to hang out longer, but we need to make our way to unload the shit dope. He makes a few comments about how cute he thinks I am and asks me to give him a call. He puts the icing on the cake with a promise to get me high again.
Justin and I pull out to go meet with his acquaintance. This shot has me spun. Justin witnesses my head nod and shrieks. He insists that I am not capable of driving. He might be right. Holy shit balls, this dope is banging. We pull into the 7-11 parking lot and his guy is there waiting. Of course he is. Somehow the roles have reversed. I am the inconsiderate asshole telling him to wait ten minutes, (when really an hour has gone by) and he is the fiend waiting in the parking lot wondering where the hell I am. Justin doesn’t want to look suspicious and I don’t trust passing him the dope for the money. I suggest that I hop in and out of this guy’s car for the trade. He agrees. After all, he doesn’t care about the guy and we are selling him bunk ass dope.
Quickly, I hop into the guy’s back seat. He passes me the money and I slide him the dope. After I am back in my vehicle I realize, I passed the fucking SD card with the dope. Oh my God! I am an idiot. He has already sped off. Immediately, I call his phone, but he does not answer. Fuck! I can’t believe that I did that. My high is shaken, as I criticize how retarded that was. Why the hell didn’t I put the SD card away? This guy doesn’t answer my attempt at three more phone calls. This leads me to believe he is anxious to see what is on the card. After all, he doesn’t know I passed it to him because I was so high and trying to just make the trade and bounce, (leave). For all he knows, I passed it to him because there was something on it I wanted him to see. Oh My God! Justin is laughing about it and I don’t find it funny at all. The guy obviously knew that I handed it to him. Why the fuck didn’t he say anything?
One more attempt at calling him and the son of a bitch doesn’t answer. I send him a few text messages, but those go unanswered too. Damn it the dope is shit. Eric is going to be so pissed. I am pissed! There is nothing left to do but drive away. Justin insists we go score some good dope now that we have the cash to do so. No argument there. We need some good dope in our life right now. Especially after this beyond stupid event. The realization that I was so high that I didn’t realize what I was doing is scary. This event is further confirmation that I am in no position to be driving. However, I pull out and head to Justin’s Dboy’s house, (Dboy= dope boy/dealer).
Once there, Justin tells his Dboy, (Mike) what just went down. Mike laughs hysterically. He can see it is upsetting me and apologizes for his hyena like demonstration. When he discovers it was Eric’s property that was jacked, he becomes quiet again. He doesn’t think highly of Eric at all. Both Mike and Justin express their hatred for him. They explain the circumstances that have caused them to not trust or care for him. Justin elaborates that I deserve much better. Mike tells me that he has been in the dope game for a long time and he has never seen a female of my stature involved in it. He is dumbfounded as to why I would be in this game. Furthermore, he cannot believe I am in it, in part because of Eric. What the fuck does that mean? I am in it because I am a fucking heroin junkie who lives to stick the needle in my arm. It’s not a fucking game to me! It’s survival mode to avoid being dope sick.
An hour passes by and Mike is content with us chilling at his spot, (house). That is a rare accommodation for a dealer to extend. Typically, they don’t want you in their house. They are not trying to be friends and most meet-ups are quick drop offs in a parking lot or at your spot, not theirs. This tells me that Mike and Justin have history. This isn’t just a Dboy. Mike is Justin’s friend. My phone rings suddenly. It is that douche who bought the bunk dope and hijacked the card. When I question him about it he doesn’t deny having it in his possession. In fact, he wants to make a trade. He is pleased with the dope and wants more. Are you fucking kidding me? This mother fucker must be new if he thought that dope was good. On top of that idiocy, he has the audacity to expect me to give him a $20 bag in exchange for my SD card? We argue back and forth about the lunacy of his request. But in the end, he’s got me and he knows it.
Mike waves to get my attention. He instructs me to mute the phone. He has a plan and tells me to agree to the terms. I comply. After I hang up the phone, Mike asks me if I’ve ever eaten Raisinets. Of course I am familiar with the candy. However, what he maps out next is something I am grateful for never personally experiencing. The idea is to take a Raisinet and smear it with tar. That way the colors are similar, but moreover, if he tastes it to the tip of his tongue, (like I always do before passing off money) he will taste heroin and not the candy. He will make the trade and I get my card back without giving him more than a taste of dope. He will drive off before realizing that what he really has in his hands is a piece of fucking candy. Mike calls it, the perfect sweet revenge. I giggle. At first I am skeptical. After all, I would not be so foolish as to not squeeze the dope and discover the trick. Justin reassures me it is fool proof. After all, this idiot thought that last dope was good. He’s right. This might actually work.
We arrange to meet at the 7-11 again. My heart is racing a mile a minute. What if this doesn’t work? It looks pretty good. In fact, it looks so legit, it is scary. In the beginning of my use, I may have been fooled by this. Justin and Mike are both waiting with me. The douche bag is not answering his phone and we have been waiting here for a half an hour. Is he not coming? Have we been duped? Mike laughs. He realizes how it feels to wait on people and finds it particularly funny. Considering he is the one that usually has people waiting on him. Witnessing my obsessive calling and text messaging, gives him a glimpse at what the person on the other end of his line has typically felt. Of course, this won’t cause him to become more punctual. Time blurs in the dope world. Waiting is part of the game.
Finally the dude pulls up. This time I send Justin to make the trade. If he does realize this is a scam, it wouldn’t be smart to be a female in the back seat of the angered customer’s car. Justin is a big boy and can take care of himself. He agrees with this philosophy. My heart is racing the entire time, as I watch Justin make his way to the car. Mike is ready to jump out if shit pops off. It doesn’t. Justin makes his way back to the car and instructs me to bounce quickly. We are not even two minutes away when my phone rings. It is homeboy and he is livid. He can’t believe I would pull such a scheme on him. He begins to cry and beg that I bring him authentic dope. He insists that he is sorry he held the SD card over me, but that him and his girl are desperate for dope. I laugh and tell him to split the Raisinet with her. He is not amused. I hang up, ignore his calls and drive.
Time is slipping away from me again. Justin and Mike went to steal a car to take to the chop shop and I wanted no part of that. With Eric in jail and Angie turning out to be a psychotic bitch, I feel lonely. I really miss my daughter. All the dope I have left is in my rig. It is my last syringe. There is blood already coagulating in it from an earlier attempt and miss. My arms can’t take this abuse anymore. My feet are bruised. My hands are swollen and bruised. If only I could find the courage to hit my neck, but it frightens me. There is no cash left in my pockets. My gas tank is on empty. This desolate feeling is haunting. I don’t want to be a drug addict anymore. The fun is long gone. I’m tired of being lied to and stolen from. This pathetic existence of hustling chump change to chase pinched bags all day has run its course. My soul yearns to be free from these chains. I just want to go home.
These feelings are not new. They are the same every time. When dope is low, when your body is exhausted and dope sickness is inevitable, every junkie contemplates this reality. Questions about how you got to this place and why you ever picked up the needle resurface. There is never real answers, only excuses. It is so much easier to blame the hardships in your life for leading you to this place, but really you know it was your choice. After all, who the hell doesn’t have a fucked up life full of fucked up circumstances and conditions? On the outside what may be perceived as perfect is just that, a perception. We have all experienced abuse at some point in our lives. Sure, not everyone has been sexually abused, verbally abused or physically assaulted. However, abuse comes in many forms. Peer pressure, lying friends, manipulative posers and cheating spouses, to name a few. Who hasn’t experienced some form of abuse? Why isn’t everyone on drugs? What is wrong with me? Why do I choose to relive the misery by numbing it away? It doesn’t stay gone. In truth, when it resurfaces it is so much worse when you are drunk or high. Your emotions are sensitive and your mind is not right, making it impossible to deal with the underlying issues. The result? Grown ass adult temper tantrums, drunken weeping, high tangents and the blame game. Who can I blame for how shitty my little life is?
Who is blaming me for their shitty little life right now? My daughter. The last time I visited with her. She cried and told me she couldn’t take it anymore. She insisted she missed me so much it hurt her heart. Selfishly, I quieted her. I couldn’t take her tears. It hurt. My reflection in her eyes was too much to bear. I begged her to be strong and told her she had to take it for just a little while longer. How horrible of a mother am I? All I could think about was getting her to sleep so that I could leave and go get well, (get high). That maternal instinct has completely abandoned me. My ability to truly feel and recognize what I am doing to my loved ones is tainted. My father and his wife, are practicing Christians. Meaning, they are active in church and have a prayer life. Blessings are said before meals and they read their bibles. I haven’t even thought about how worried they must be. How much time have they spent praying for me? Do they fear that my death is a phone call away? They should. Every day I am killing myself. My body has withered away to 103 pounds. I rarely eat or sleep. Sure, I enjoy my heroin nods, but that’s not 8 hours a day. My eyes have huge, dark circles under them.
I examine my demeanor in the mirror on my visor, (in my car). My skin is pasty. My hair has a spot that has spikes sticking out from my scalp at the base of my neck. One night I was tweaking balls. When I looked in the mirror, I could see hair all over my neck. Naturally, it was peach fuzz that all women have, but because I was tweaking and sleep deprived I hallucinated it as much more. I spent over an hour plucking at these little hairs. Finally, I grabbed my electric razor and ran it up and down my neck. I accidentally clipped my hair at the base of my neck and long pieces fell to my shoulder. You would think that would cause me to put the razor down, but it did not detour me from tweaking in the mirror for another half hour. It looks ridiculous. Of course, you can’t see it unless my hair is pulled back. But I know it is there. My face looks caved in. I swear that my skin almost looks like it has a green or gray tint to it. All this time, I thought I looked great and could fool anyone. Hustling at the gas stations, walking past security in the casino, going through the drive thru and walking in the grocery store, I never realized how obvious it has been to everyone.
Desperate for food and sleep, I call my dad. He agrees to meet me at the gas pump and fill my tank if I come home. His wife, Colleen, is concerned about my dog bite. She is a registered nurse and insists on taking a look at it. The bump on my head is not as rough looking. However, my side still aches. My dad lives a half hour away from the gas station. I pull my car up to the pump, shut the ignition off and wait. The sun is shining. It warms the car and causes me to be thirsty. I search the floorboards of my car, hoping to turn up change for a beverage, but there is nothing but mere pennies. My body is exhausted and is fighting the onset of dope withdrawal. When I withdraw, I sleep off and on for a day. Then I binge on sweets. The Dole frozen fruit bars are my favorite. They help hydrate me. After that, I long to sleep more, but the sickness kicks in. Restless legs and the spasm in my shoulder prohibit me from getting more sleep. By day three I quit. This won’t be my first attempt at self detoxing. At least four times now, I have made it to day three before scoring dope. I am weak. I need Suboxone. Suboxone is the only way to curb the horrible withdrawal of heroin. In Washington, it requires going to a special doctor that prescribes it. Then in order to get it, you have to attend these stupid classes. It is very expensive without insurance. It is not a possibility for me. Some people sell it on the streets. But when the choice is $20 for a Suboxone strip or a $20 bag of dope, the dope always wins.
My dad pulls up to the pump. It is very embarrassing to be around my dad when I am like this. He comments about my dark circles and elaborates how tired I look. That makes it even more difficult to be around him. He is concerned, but it angers me. It doesn’t anger me because he is concerned, it angers me because I am ashamed. After he fills my tank, I ask him to grab me something to drink. He agrees and I grab a blue Gatorade. When we pull out to the freeway, my dad expects me to follow him. Truth is I need to bang this last shot of dope. It won’t be good at all soon. I will be lucky if the plunger doesn’t get stuck because of the blood coagulating in the barrel. This Gatorade should dilute it enough for me to take this final shot, but hitting a vein is another story. When we are nearing Marysville, I pull off on a country exit. There is no one around and I beg God to please let me hit a vein. After several failed attempts, I weep. This isn’t worth it. There is barely a shot to begin with and it’s fucked up because of the blood in it. The rig is dull and with each attempt to plug a vein, it is very fucking painful. I scream and pound my fists on the steering wheel. You have got to be fucking kidding me! The tip of the needle busts off. I inadvertently slammed the needle against the wheel.
There is nothing I can do. I have wasted my last shot of dope. I don’t have any more rigs. I can’t snort it with blood in it. Eating it won’t get me high and the blood will fully coagulate and make this shot impossible to take within the next hour. Fuck! My eyes are heavy. All I want to do is get to my dad’s couch and cuddle my daughter. Once I’ve pulled back onto the freeway, I speed down the road. My dad is likely home and wondering where the hell I am. My eyes fall heavy and I fight to keep them open. It is dangerous for me to be on the road in this condition. Thank God I am close by.
Finally, I arrive at my dad’s place. Natalia, (my daughter) runs to the door to meet me. Despite how neglectful I have been, she always greets me with her declaration that I am the best mom in the world. She elaborates how badly she has missed me. I wish that I could show more excitement. On the inside I am ecstatic to see her, but on the outside I cannot lift my head. Colleen investigates my dog bite. She doesn’t think I need to go to the hospital, but expresses how lucky I am. Slowly, I make my way to the couch. Natalia cuddles up next to me. My dad and Colleen are whispering in the kitchen, but I cannot make out what they are saying. My body fights to stay awake. How horrible to come home and pass out on my family. Especially, Natalia. She is so excited to see me and wants to tell me all about what she has been up to. My mind cannot focus. My eyes roll into the back of my head. Within minutes, I have nodded out.
Despite the nod, my ears are still awake. I can hear the commotion of my family. The Mariner’s baseball game on in the background and my daughter expressing her desire to color next to me. My dad explains that I am sick and very tired. He instructs her to color quietly. I can hear my daughter suggest to my father that I am here, but that I am not really here. Even at five years old, my daughter can see that I am not who I once was. Who is this stranger dwelling within her mother’s body? This must be very confusing for her. My father wakes me up to announce dinner is ready. Is he kidding me? A home cooked meal? It has been too long. Natty, (Natalia) is happy that I am awake and asks to sit next to me through dinner. Because the ball game is on, my dad sets up TV trays in the living room. Normally, Natalia wouldn’t eat over the carpet. However, because I am here my father allows for this exception.
Barbecue chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans and Pillsbury crescent rolls. My favorite. My stomach has shrunk from months of not eating. However, it is all so good, I gorge myself until my stomach hurts. My father is trying hard not to stare at me, as I devour my food at rapid speed. Normally I would smoke a cigarette after a meal, but I am too weak and exhausted. My eyes roll into the back of my head again and I am out for another nod.
For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.