Thursday, June 28, 2018

That one time I tried crack

"You ain't tryin'a buy dope are ya?"

I found myself facing an older and if appearances were to be trusted (very speculative) balding black woman as I stood out front of the South End Tap mindlessly puffing away on a cigarette.

"Me? nah (burp) nah man. Not this guy." I lied, drunkenly.

Pale and lanky as I was strung out... I wasn't fooling anyone.

"I don't care if you doin dope, just be smart about it. Don't be drivin and shit.

"Oh, no no ma'am I would never."

She look at me and smirked. 

"Here take this, barely touched it. Seem like you need it mo'than I do."

She handed me a Styrofoam take out container filled to the brim with chicken fried okra. Three days ago, I'd been in detox (oops) and the food there had been as bland as my senses. As grey as the hospital gowns we shuffled around in amidst the back-drop of dying fluorescent lights. Alcohol and fistful after fistful of vicoden and lorazepam may have turned me into a zombie but there was nothing that made you feel quite as undead as detox. I snatched the parcel from this strange woman and scarfed down what I could, before tossing my cigarette to the wind.

"Thanks man" I mumbled in between mouth-fulls 

But she'd already went back inside. As lump after lump trans-fat drenched goodness made its way down my throat, I began to remember the reason I'd decided to venture out to this particular shit-hole bar. 

I'd tried just about everything else. Shit-tire whiskey and Steel Reserve had made up my mind a long time ago hell maybe even genetics had made up my mind a long time ago. Everything culminating to the moment where I finally score some crack rock. I'd done powdered coke enough to know that its glamour was illusory. There were darker avenues to venture down. Untold riches of arcane, euphoria lied there ripe for the taking and after epically failing at detox, it was my time to experience them. I'd been down and out for years, now I just needed to join the club. 

Later, (had no luck scoring at the bar) I found myself outside of a liquor store a few blocks down. I went in to buy some more beer. It didn't matter what brand or how much. I just needed a reason to scope out the clientele or... let them scope me out rather. A good dopeman knows the scent of desperate oblivion and I reeked of it.

"Aye," A voice called out to me as I was leaving.

"What you need my man. I got that good bud."

I looked back to meet his gaze. His gun the first thing I noticed and believe you me, I felt the weight of that gun through my eyes. His posture told me that he had no intention of using it now but wouldn't hesitate to at a moments notice. They say that if the dope doesn't kill you the lifestyle will... Now I understood. This palpable atmosphere of danger really was the great equalizer. Nothing imparted on me from my petty bourgeoisie upbringing could have prepared me for this. This was everything the 90's Drug Free PSA's and DARE programs had warned me about.

"You got anything other than weed?" 

"Yeah, what you need?"

"Rocks... a dub."

"Hold on a minute."

After motioning to another person I'd not noticed standing beside him he handed me a bag and I handed him a crisp $20.

"Aight, you good?"

"Yeah." I said mesmerized. The strained sound-waves echoing in the distance the further I walked.

My hands shook with excitement as I pinched the end of my cigarette, stuffed the rocks in and covered them back up with the loose tobacco I'd harvested. 

"3...2...1..." I said to myself bringing the lighter to the tip and the butt to my mouth I inhaled harder than I ever had before and then... Bliss. The infamous bell-ringer made itself known as every pore on body vibrated for a few precious minuets. I spent the next hour or wandering around aimlessly, drinking and talking to myself until the familiar shapes of my little suburbia came into view. I stumbled home and actually managed to fall asleep. Days came and went as they tend to do. I never did go back to that liquor store parking lot. I knew the age-old bedfellows of pain and pleasure. I knew that wherever angels tread, demons follow close behind... I had enough of those and wasn't ready for another quite yet.

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