Wednesday, July 25, 2012

An Offer from a Snake

Every single word written here is an extraordinary exaggeration of events that have played out in my head... based on the stories I have heard from people I have met in jail or while I was dealing with my own stupidity and carelessness, resulting from my own addiction to alcohol and drugs. This is in no way a glamorization of drug use, but a tool to lend some humanity to a subculture that has been demonized and written off as a hopeless and worthless part of our human family. I do not condone or promote any of the behavior or activities herein.

Chapter Twelve

              I finished up my visit with Bull and his beasts at the back of the property, and watched him rolling around with the cats for about half an hour.  I watched a car pull up in the far driveway at the farmhouse and whistled with my tongue through my bottom teeth.  I began my trek through the mud and cut wood, glancing back to see Bull responding to my whistle by batting his cats away and back into the darkness of the property, shagging and scruffling the nape of their necks and their hindquarters as he bade them farewell.  The last cat dragged the carcass of the neighbor’s dog along with him.  Bull began to jog through the night towards my position.  I halted and watched the visitors exit their car.

            Bull walked up next to me and slapped me on the back.  “How about that shit?  You’re the only person to see those cats since the motherfucker who gave them to me when they were kittens!”  Bull wasn’t panting or sweating, even though he had just sprint a couple of hundred yards.

            “Yeah boss... what the fuck?  You have some serious wildcats roaming around your property.  Those cats took down the neighbor’s dog...  and ate that fucking motherfucker… and then you just walked out and played with them!!??”  I stopped and looked at his proud eyes and expectant stare.  “I will never cease to be fucking amazed with you, brother… I mean, holy shit… WHO ELSE SEES THAT KIND OF SHIT?”

            “Nobody…” Bull stated, matter-of-factly and laughed loudly.  “What’s going on at the house?”  He cast his eyes in the same direction I was staring.

            “Well, that Volkswagen just pulled in…  Dayna is up there with Milly and Bacardi McBoozey, and the house is cleaned-up except for a box of some pipes that I left in front of the wood-burner.  Who the fuck is driving that V.W.?”
            “I have NO idea.  I suppose we should we find out, huh?”
            “Yeah… I guess so… but, boss… I’m fucking beat.”  I slumped down and trudged towards the house.  I was quietly accepting the idea that most of what I heard about Bull was true, or at least grounded in some form of the truth.  Bull was meandering close beside me, and I could see from the corner of my eye that he was grinning and periodically looking in my direction.  He reached in his shirt pocket and handed me a glass pipe. He stopped in front of me and opened his flannel jacket to block the breeze.  I ducked inside of his makeshift shield and lit my flame under the pipe and inhaled deeply.  Bull smelled like mud.  I smiled to myself as the buzz fluttered into my brain.

            “Yeah… those are my cats.”  Bull was looking back over his shoulder as I pulled away from his open shirt.  I instinctively looked back over mine to make sure that those cats weren’t on our path... but recognized the gesture as futile and gave up. 

            “Fuckin’ right… I saw something about somebody getting mauled on Discovery Channel who was trying to keep pet a cat like that in their house.  You’re something else, Bull.  I haven’t figured out what you are yet… but you’re something else.”  I shook my head and pushed him as hard as I could mid-stride.  He held his ground and grabbed my wrists.

            “EEEEE Zay” he laughed and threw my wrists down.  We were coming up to the house now, and we both looked at each other waiting for each other to decide who would go first.  I took my opportunity to get ahead of him and walked up the back stairs of the house.  Bull pulled my foot as I took the last step, and my boot came off.  I tumbled and spilled through the door into the kitchen.  I rolled over and caught the boot as Bull threw it to me.  Mud from the boot sprayed my face and arms as I sat shaking my head, red-faced as the group congregating at the round table stood up to witness the ruckus. 

            “Oops… sorry man.”  Bull laughed and stepped over me as I pulled the boot back on and laced it tightly.  I wiped my face and eyes clean of the mud and filth from outside and thought,  that won’t happen again.  “False alarm everybody…  my friend saw a neighbor out there looking for his dog.  I don’t think he’ll be shining flashlights around the property anymore... at least not looking for his dog, right?”  He looked back to me, winked and flashed a fierce grin.

            “No, boss… he won’t be looking for his dog anymore.  I hope everybody realizes that this man is a fucking maniac of mythic proportions…” I started laughing and got to my feet.  “You fucking put your life into his hands if you wander out into the dark around here.”

            “Shit, brother… you put your life into my hands when you sit at this fucking table…  speaking of which…”  I walked up to Bull at the round-table.  Dayna, Milly, and Bacardi were keeping company with a particularly faded Roxy and a brawny looking guy with an opened case of Pabst sitting prominently in front of him.  “I know who this bitch is…  so, tell me," Bull inquired of the newest guest, "who the hell are you, and why do you have your beer on my grandfather’s table?”

            Roxy was fumbling with something in her lap that looked like teeth and was quick to push her dentures back into her mouth. “Take it easy, Bull… this is Snake," she said once she situated her mouthpiece.  "He’s with me.”
            “I wasn't talking to you Roxy, and that ain't what I asked, was it? What are YOU doing here?”  Bull took his seat at the head of the table and eyeballed Roxy deeply, then turned his attention to her friend.  I pulled a milk crate up and sat next to him.
            Roxy rolled an opened can of Pabst can around in her hands.  “I think you guys have something in common to talk about.  It’ll benefit everybody.”
            “Benefit everybody…  yeah.  Soooooo… Snake, is it?  Can you talk, or are you just being fucking rude in my house?”
            “Snake, yeah, and if that doesn’t work you can call me Butch” the newcomer offered.
            Bull just nodded at him and glared before turning his attention back to Roxy.
            “Roxy… how’s Beecher anyways?” Bull held his pack of cigarettes to his mouth and pulled one out with his lips.  His demeanor had changed and I was feeling anxious watching him draw information out of our guests.  He lit his smoke, dropped the lighter onto the table and folded his hands in front of him.
            “Beecher didn’t make it, Bull.  He’s dead.  I guess he jammed too much into his veins before he pulled up here that day.  His heart stopped before I got him to the hospital.”
            “You don’t say?” Bull shook his head, trying to look regretful.  “Butch... or Snake... or whatever... knowing that the last boy that followed Roxy here is now… ashes I suppose… what could you possibly hope to get out of following her here yourself?”
            “I’m no banger, man.”  Snake replied.  "I don't do needles."
            “Beecher wasn’t either before he met Roxy.”  Bull raised his right hand and pointed a finger at Roxy.  Roxy put her beer on the table and held her hand to her mouth and spit her dentures into her hand.
           “That’s not fair…” Roxy was turning red and twirling her fake teeth in her hands.  “I’m not sure that you didn’t have something to do with that you old fucking warlock…”
            “Careful, Roxy…  I was with you and this guy,” Bull pulled his thumb in my direction, “I had nothing to do with what Beecher was doing before he showed up.”  Bull leaned over to me and whispered, “Warlock?”
            “Wizard… same thing, boss. But it's kind of a big word for Roxy to be slinging,”  I smiled and whispered back.
            “Oh,” Bull whispered.
            “Anyhow… what the fuck do you have for me… um… Butch?  Is it?”  Bull focused on our new associate.
            “Snake,”  He replied.
            “Whatever Snake... Butch is too fucking hillbilly for even my standards.”  Bull laughed in spite of himself.  Roxy rolled her eyes and looked at her new boyfriend curiously.
            “Well, I have a tank of anhydrous in the car for you… I mean, if you can use it.”  Snake reached for his beer and pulled deeply from its contents.  The room became silent with the gravity of the offer.  He crushed the can when he finished drinking and dropped it on the floor.
            Bull melodramatically looked under the table to see where the beer can landed at Snake's feet.  “I think you better give me one of those beers before we talk about that, Snake.”  Bull replied.  Snake’s hand pulled a can from the case and rolled it across the table towards Bull.  Bull snatched it up and handed it to me.  “Here, you take that foamy mess… Snake, hand me a fucking beer if you wanna talk.”  Bull glared at Roxy.  She reached under the table and picked up the empty, crushed can.

            "Don't do that again you fucking idiot..." Roxy told him.

            Snake pulled another Pabst from the cardboard case and stood up to reach across the table to hand it to Bull.  I held my hand out from my body and cracked my beer at the same time Bull cracked his.  Foam ran out the can and over my hands.  I shook my head and Roxy laughed.  Before my lips met the can Bull had finished his beer and slammed the empty can on the table. 

            “How about another one… or… two…” Bull looked at me as I was slamming what was left of my beer.  “ And Snake... get that fucking case of beer off of my grandfather's table.”

This work is the intellectual property of Jerome J. Panozzo

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bull's Pet Cats

Every single word written here is an extraordinary exaggeration of events that have played out in my head... based on the stories I have heard from people I have met in jail or while I was dealing with my own stupidity and carelessness, resulting from my own addiction to alcohol and drugs. This is in no way a glamorization of drug use, but a tool to lend some humanity to a subculture that has been demonized and written off as a hopeless and worthless part of our human family. I do not condone or promote any of the behavior or activities herein.

Chapter Eleven

             While the girls searched vigorously, turning the house upside down and collecting pipes, syringes, spoons, foils, tooters and anything else that even looked like it could be used to ingest dope, I was stoking the fire inside of the wood burner.  

             Bull had us all very well trained on what to do at the onset of a raid.  My primary job if I were in the house was to make sure the fire was good and hot so that any and all contraband could be burned if the farm and our activities had been compromised.  I was satisfied with the fire, as opening the cast-iron door to the burner immediately turned the pile of coals into a raging fire.  I began collecting the girl’s findings in a cardboard box lying next to the burner usually reserved for newspaper and kindling wood.  One by one, I carefully picked the syringes out of the box and tossed them in the fire.  Used needles always appalled me.  I took the tooters, which were mostly the tubes from ink pens and tossed those in next.  I carefully separated the glass pipes and dope bags from the broken pieces of glass and surprisingly enough a few mason jars and a denture brush that we used to scrape the sides of the jars to collect the dope stuck to the glass. 

            “Anybody want this before I burn it?”  I held up the denture brush, to which Bacardi left her new position of peering through the blinds on the main door to retrieve.  She stuck the brush between her cheek and her bottom back teeth and filled her mouth with rum from the diminishing Bacardi bottle.  She moved the brush to the center of her mouth, and seemed to be rinsing it with the rum she had just poured in there.  She swallowed the rum and went back to the door, brushing what was left of her teeth and gums with the dope soaked brush.

            She nodded in my direction, but still remained silent.  “Fuckin’ right, I’ll have to remember that for next time…”  I laughed nervously and went back to sorting through the dope trash, looking up at the camera monitors when I could.  Bacardi just stared through the blinds, brushing her teeth and tongue with the denture brush.  When I had disposed of every bit of useless paraphernalia the girls had found, I put the box of salvageable dope gear on the floor in front of the wood burner.  I would wait until the last second to burn everything… just in case this was a false alarm.  Either way, it was good to have cleaned up and gotten rid of the broken glass and used needles.

            Bull had a walkie talkie, and our device was sitting in the center of the round table, where we had all returned and found a chair.  Everybody except for Bacardi, who was chewing on the brush I had given her and staring through the blinds at the front door.   Each of us were transfixed with the camera monitors, and every time the screen changed to another view, we all simultaneously drew a breath in anticipation.  I’m not sure what we were looking for, but I began to see things in the ghost images of the previous camera view when the screen would change to a new one.     

            “Tell the garbage man to meet me at the crack trailer…”  Everybody jumped, and I felt a bead of sweat roll from my neck, down my shoulder into my armpit.  “…Now… and he needs to come in the dark, but bring a flashlight, and be quiet.  Don’t anybody respond to me on this walkie talkie.  Everything is okay, business as usual, except for the garbage man.”

            “I assume he means me…”  I choked out a laugh, and grabbed a flashlight from one of the shelves on the wall behind Bull’s chair at the round table.  I turned to see Milly and Bacardi whispering to each other while Milly texted somebody on her phone.  I looked to Dayna and darted my eyes to Milly’s phone.

            “Milly, you better put that fucking phone away, or Bulls gonna burn it when he gets here.”  Dayna said flatly.  Milly slid her phone shut and folded her arms in protest.

            With that I was headed out the door to the crack trailer.  This is what we jokingly called the broken down mobile home on the property that had been Bull’s when he first got popped for manufacturing over a decade ago.  I was convinced that the thing was haunted, only to be reassured by Bull’s reluctance to venture into the old structure after dark.  I was positive that he wanted me to make my way back to it in the dark, without the aid of a flashlight, so I stopped in my tracks and let my eyes adjust to the darkness and stillness of the farm after dark.

            After several horrifyingly, painstaking minutes alone in the dark, my eyes began to pick up on the light that the moon was offering me this night.  I began to ease my way into the property, and back to the crack trailer, which was about fifty yards out from the garage, along the property line and the farm field.  I found my journey a little more enjoyable than my charge to the farmhouse had been.  I was nervous in the dark, but I knew if Bull had asked for me to come out to him alone, that this would be worth whatever anxiety I was feeling at the moment.  I noticed that the moon was nearly full, but the reason I had struggled with my night vision was the cloud cover.  The clouds began to pull away from the moon, and it suddenly became very easy for me to see where I was going.  I was very close to the garage, and could see the folding structure of the crack trailer, just over the silhouette of the fire truck in Bull’s boneyard.

            When my feet passed the fire truck, I stepped into a large puddle of mud and water that I hadn’t expected.  I began to curse under my breath, and was nearly startled into a scream when Bull’s arms pulled me out of the puddle and behind a large maple tree.  He had clapped a hand over my mouth to keep me from sounding off.  When he was satisfied I wouldn’t fuss or make any noise he let the hand go from my mouth and held his pointer finger in front of my eyes.  He still hadn’t let go of the arm keeping my arms and ribcage from moving.

            “Now shut the fuck up… your flashlight was the neighbor.  His dog took off onto this property.  He was just looking for his dog.  I sent him home.  His dog is dead.  I want you to see something.  Nobody will ever believe that I showed you this, but I’m gonna show you anyways.”  He lowered his pointer finger into the farm field in front of us.  There was a pile of something in a beam of moonlight.

            “What the fuck is that, Boss?”  He relinquished his hold on my ribcage and arms, and knelt down.  He curled his pointer finger at me, beckoning me to do the same.

            “I guess that’s what’s left of the neighbor’s dog.” Bull smiled a little, but kept his gaze fixed on the carcass.

            “What the fuck did that to his dog?” I whispered.

            “Well, I hope I get to show you… now shut the fuck up.”

            We sat in silence for what seemed like forever.  My knees and legs were burning, but I didn’t want to breathe, let alone move while my friend was so fixated on whatever had his attention.  We knelt there in silence for what must have been an hour.  I was flexing my toes inside of my boots when he patted my shoulder and I heard a twig snap in the distance.  My eyes started scanning the landscape, and from a pile of farm brush I saw an animal’s silhouette creeping towards the carcass.  I drew in a startled breath, and Bull’s hand was over my mouth again.  I turned my eyes to him, and saw him smiling and nodding slowly.
            “There they are!” he whispered.  His hand moved from my mouth and planted itself on my shoulder and gave a firm squeeze.  From out of the shadows appeared two more silhouettes.  I thought at first that they might be coyotes, but they definitely weren’t canine in nature.  Their sleek profiles led to me to think that they might be feline, but I had never seen cats this big.  The animals were as big as hunting dogs, but far more agile and appealing to watch.  Bull was retreating from my vantage point and standing up.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of the sight in front of me.  Within seconds, the animals were noiselessly pulling and tearing at the carcass in front of us.  I was dumbfounded and amazed.
            Before I could offer protest, Bull was several yards in front of me.  He was moving like a prowler, and I can only assume he didn’t want to startle the animals in front of him.  The moon cast an aura on my friend that made him glow with a faint blue shimmer.  The animals let go of the carcass and stopped immediately.  Bull stopped his approach.  He held both arms out and opened his hands as if to show them that he meant no harm.  The silence was deafening, and then Bull let loose with a sound that I can only describe as the purr of a lion.  It was a low guttural sound from deep in his lungs and abdomen.  The animals he was approaching began crouching into a prone position, and I began to think that they were going to attack him.  He let go with one more guttural growl, and the three cats pounced to his approach and he knelt down to greet the three of them as if they were kittens.  They were immediately pawing and licking him and playing with his shoelaces and his hands.  There was no fearsome aggression at all in these three giant cats.  My friend began laughing and growling with his pets.  I smiled to myself, amazed, and stood up to take a piss.

            Upon standing up, the cats noticed my movement and scurried off about five yards from Bull, and he sat up.  He clicked his tongue several times and they shyly approached him again.  He waved me off, and I turned away, stunned, to try and relieve myself.  I walked into the shadows of the property to try and make sense of what I thought had been a dope-fueled story about my friend and his giant cats.  

            I was smiling in spite of myself.

This work is the intellectual property of Jerome J. Panozzo

Monday, July 23, 2012

Unwelcome Visitors

Every single word written here is an extraordinary exaggeration of events that have played out in my head... based on the stories I have heard from people I have met in jail or while I was dealing with my own stupidity and carelessness, resulting from my own addiction to alcohol and drugs. This is in no way a glamorization of drug use, but a tool to lend some humanity to a subculture that has been demonized and written off as a hopeless and worthless part of our human family. I do not condone or promote any of the behavior or activities herein.

Chapter Ten

         It took me several phone calls and another week to convince my wife to listen for a minute that I thought I was okay to come home.  I was drawing on all of her heartstrings to try and get back into her good graces, but the cat was out of the bag.  It was clear that I was using meth at a destructive level.  She was not about to let me return home and bring my pipe nor my friends with me.  

         After my recognition of the time I had lost, I tried to make my first phone call home only to be greeted by threats of divorce, the involvement of the law and a restraining order if I dared to return home without her permission.  She promptly made a visit to the farm and upon watching her car pull onto the road from one of the cameras we utilized as surveillance, I met her in the driveway.  She sat in her car until I walked up to the driver’s side door, and rolled down her window.

            “What the fuck are you doing to yourself?”
            “I’m sorry… I really lost track of time.”  I was trying to hide the fact that I was high, and I was still feeling like I could talk my way through this.  I almost wanted to smile... I was feeling THAT confident.
            “Look at you… HAVE you eaten at all?”  She glared up and down at my figure and then drew on her cigarette.  Her hands were shaking.
            “I eat…” I tapped my torso above my abdomen, shocked to feel my ribs.  “I’m just doing a lot of outdoorsy stuff.”

            “Bullshit… you need to come home and sleep and think about rehab.”  She started rolling up her window.  I smiled and turned away from the car and started walking back to the house.  I heard her put the car in reverse and kick gravel up on her way out of the driveway.

            I finished my walk of shame to the farmhouse, knowing that my entire transaction with my wife had been watched by Bull and Dayna.  I smiled and gave a camera hiding in a tree close to the house the middle finger.  I was shaking and ashamed.  I missed my wife, but knew I couldn’t leave right now.  I was way too high and involved. 

            When I opened the screen door, I pushed the heavy, solid door behind it open, and listened to her car race down the road.  The screen door slammed and bounced, and I pushed the heavy door shut and turned the dead bolt.  I walked through the unfinished living room and sat at the round table.

            “What are you doing, man?  We’re trying to run a respectable meth operation here.”  Bull said matter-of-factly.  “You could have invited her in…”

            “OH… Hardee-har, motherfucker, laugh it up.”  I rested my head in my hands.  “She could have at least brought me a change of clothes.”

~          ~          ~

            We went back to business as usual that night.  I finished cleaning the garage after dark.  Bull and Dayna were doing a bunch of nothing at the house, waiting on some company to arrive.  The expected company would be providing us with the necessary supplies to start cooking a new batch of dope.  I was responsible for making sure the garage was ship-shape when Bull was ready to use it.  I had washed and replaced his favorite Mason jars.  I had cleaned and dried several empty two-liter soda bottles and put them under the workbench.  I looked around at the floor and collected old evidence like Coleman Fuel cans, half-melted two-liter bottles, old fish tank air hose lines (all clouded up with acid residue).  When I was satisfied that the garage was satisfactory, I hauled my black garbage sack of toxic leftovers to a nearby burn barrel.  
        The barrel was at the corner of the property overlooked a patch of ground that was usually farmed.  The field was barren and flat, as it was after harvest season.  I could see the tree line indicating the far end of Bull’s land just across the farm field.  I dumped my garbage bag into the burn barrel and lit the top of the plastic bag on fire.  The bags burned terrifically and I always liked to watch as the plastic dripped onto the garbage like molten lava onto an alien landscape.  I had learned the hard way not to watch too closely when burning trash from our illicit adventures in the garage though.  The first time I was given this job, I was busy watching the bag melt onto one of the half-melted two liter bottles when I noticed a swirling cloud of flames inside one of the bottles.  I was fascinated and continued to watch until the whole burn barrel exploded like a cannon.  I was knocked on my ass and lost all of the hair on my right arm, my right eyebrow and eyelashes.  Fortunately I was wearing a stocking cap, and managed to salvage my hair.  I didn’t suffer any serious burns as the fireball was quick to die out, and was mostly vapors.  I did have to throw out the pair of boxers I was wearing.

            This particular night I lit the bag and turned around and walked about fifteen feet away from the barrel and began watching the tree line across the farm field.  In the dark with my back to the fire I could see the orange glow of the blaze building in the burn barrel and was standing in anticipation of the inevitable fireball that followed ignition of this trash.  I always got excited, and couldn’t keep from smiling.  Within a couple of minutes I was greeted by the expected thud and fireball.  I flinched a bit, as always, but then something happened that sent a chill through my body that I could have never expected.  As I recovered from the trash explosion, my eyes fixed on the tree line across the farm field, a lone, single flashlight beam aimed in my direction.  

         Somebody we didn’t know was on the back property.  

         My legs and arms went numb, and I turned and ran as fast as my legs would carry me back towards the farmhouse.

            I tripped several times trying to navigate the driveway, as it had become littered with hunks of wood we were splitting, axes we were splitting with, and wheelbarrows to haul wood away with.  When I finally found my night eyes, I was nearly to the farmhouse, and my chest felt like it was caving.  My legs felt like they were on fire.  I threw the back door open and startled everybody at the table.  I was surprised to see my old partner Milly seated at the table with another friend of hers that most people just called 'Hide-Me', but I usually just called her Bacardi.

            “What the hell is going on with you, man?”  Bull poked his head around the corner to inspect the scene.

            “Dude, flashlight on the back property… saw it when the garbage can blew up.”  I was heaving for breath.

            “Are you fucking sure?” Bull asked, getting up from his spot and pulling his camouflage jacket from the back of his chair.  I nodded feverishly.  “Because you better be sure… Is the garage clean?”

            Panting, “Yeah boss, I just got done… I was burning the garbage when somebody put their flashlight on me from the tree line across the farm field.”

            “Stay here and clean up this house… all of you.  Dayna, give me a walkie- talkie.”  Dayna threw Bull a small walkie talkie, capable of communicating over distances of several miles on flat ground, perfect for this property.

            We all began sweeping the house for paraphernalia and contraband.  Hide-Me didn’t speak to me, only handed me a half-empty liter of Bacardi.  I drank deeply and chased the rum with a flat can of diet coke that I’m pretty sure somebody had started using as an ashtray.  

           This night was off to a shitty start.           

This work is the intellectual property of Jerome J. Panozzo

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Every single word written here is an extraordinary exaggeration of events that have played out in my head... based on the stories I have heard from people I have met in jail or while I was dealing with my own stupidity and carelessness, resulting from my own addiction to alcohol and drugs. This is in no way a glamorization of drug use, but a tool to lend some humanity to a subculture that has been demonized and written off as a hopeless and worthless part of our human family. I do not condone or promote any of the behavior or activities herein.

Chapter Nine

             Dayna was still pulling four-leafed clovers from the patch of ground I left her in when Bull and I had finished smashing cat litter into the blood stains on the garage floor.  We swept up the mess and finished the pile of dope on the broken piece of glass on the workbench.  We were walking towards the front of the property in no particular direction when we happened upon her. 
She was wild-eyed and sleep-deprived… Bull double-stepped past me and made a quick approach for the ground she was sitting in.  She looked up at me and glared before she relaxed her position to put a four-leafed clover in Bulls hand and rest her eyes on him.  He put his hand at the back of her neck and ran his hand through her thick brown hair.  She sighed and shook his hand out of her hair. 

            “Did you take care of that prick?”  She turned her glare to Bull, and he pulled his hand back and started looking through the clover patch.

            “I think so…” His aim turned to me, “I'd say that covered our issue with him, wouldn't you?”

            “Fuck, if the issue was him telling people where he gets dope… I don’t think he’s coming back.  I hope that covered it Boss...  I’m gonna go wash this toxic mix off of my skin.  Should I use the shower in the house, or the water truck?”  I was alluding to a trailer with a 500 gallon tank on the back that Bull used when the well on the farm ran dry in particularly dry periods of the year, or when winter froze the pipes to the house.

            “Guess you better use the shower.  Scrub it down when you’re done, I need to take a bath.”  Bull was particular about the bathtub, and made Dayna scrub it each and every time we got done cooking dope, so he could cleanse his skin of the chemicals we absorbed while we were in the process.  He usually started to pass out during the first bowl of a new batch being passed around at the round table and called it ‘Hum Drunk.’  He claimed to be hearing a hum in his ears that would only be relieved by a bath followed by a shower to scrub the residue from his skin. 

            “Now he’s cleaning your bathtub??  Guess you’ll just need me for a piece of pussy now and then, huh?”  Dayna barked.

            Bull hung his head.  He shook it several times and looked up at me and said, “Don’t clean it then… Dayna will cover it.”

            “I’ll just use the tank.  I need to get home anyways.  I haven’t been there in…”   I had to think for a minute.

            “Man, you haven’t been home in about two weeks.”  Bull said, he and Dayna both started laughing.

            “Fuck… what day is it?”  I started to feel a little more weak in my knees than when I thought Bull was going to burn Zoloft.

            “I don’t fucking know man… but you haven’t slept and you've been here since I got the last tank of Anny...  Now, how do you think you’re wife is gonna feel about that?”  Bull and Dayna looked into each other’s eyes and she went back to brushing the clover, looking for more mutant weeds.  I felt like they were laughing at me, in their heads... between each other. 

            “Well, I’m gonna clean up, and make sure it’s safe for me to go home.  I’ll call her when I feel a little better.”  I turned to walk towards the tank.

            “Sure brother, I’ll see you at the house.”  Bull didn’t look at me.

            “Hey fucker… do you want your pipe?”  I turned around to see Dayna waving my glass above their heads still pawing at the clover.

            “Yeah.”  I walked a few steps and grabbed the glass pipe.  I held it up in the sunlight and saw a welcome sight.  The crystals were thick and there was enough dope at the bottom to keep me high for a couple more hours.  “Thanks, Dee.”

            “You stink… get clean.  Cook us some dinner”  Dayna laughed and went back to pawing through the weeds.

            I guess I wasn’t going anywhere today.

This work is the intellectual property of Jerome J. Panozzo

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Burn that Fucking Russian

Every single word written here is an extraordinary exaggeration of events that have played out in my head... based on the stories I have heard from people I have met in jail or while I was dealing with my own stupidity and carelessness, resulting from my own addiction to alcohol and drugs. This is in no way a glamorization of drug use, but a tool to lend some humanity to a subculture that has been demonized and written off as a hopeless and worthless part of our human family. I do not condone or promote any of the behavior or activities herein.

Chapter Eight

              I left the scene of the assault I had just finished committing and followed my instructions.  Zoloft and I were fighting at the back of the property, and Bull’s jeep was parked near the house at the front.  I was dazed and adrenalized through the first one hundred yards of the walk, but after passing the pile of bottles and junk where I had learned about Bull's  ‘steel ball’ story, my arms had started to ache, and my chest started to cave.  I began to feel a little bit ashamed of beating Zoloft so badly.  I pulled my pipe from my pocket and stopped to smoke the ‘frosty’ resin on the stem of the thing.  
           I had a couple of grams in my pocket as well, but I needed to sell most of that to replace some money I had taken from the bank account I shared with my wife.  My body was so sore at this point that I was thinking of making up a story about losing that money…   Fortunately the stem-hits that I was smoking seemed to be working… everything soon stopped hurting and my brain began firing on all cylinders again.  I was angry again, but I smiled when I began imagining what Bull was going to do with the battery cables and gasoline when I got back to the garage.  
            Zoloft was so fucked.
           The aches left my arms… and I spit on my hands repeatedly.  I wanted the blood gone.  When my hands were wet with slimy spit, and the blood loosened, I wiped them on my jeans.  It cleaned my hands considerably, but there was still a bloody-pink residue.  I was comfortable with that.  I began to double-time my brisk pace back to Bull’s jeep.
            When I rounded the second driveway through the property, I met Dayna.  She was completely lost... geeked-out and picking through the clover on the ground.  It appeared as though she had about 100 four leafed clovers gathered in the center of an open ledger that I had bought for her to draw in.  I stopped and smiled… not realizing how horrible I must have looked.
“What the FUCK happened to you?”

She was surprised at my appearance, but I could see her looking at the blood stains on my jeans from where I had wiped my spitty, blood-soaked hands.   She crawled towards me and grabbed my pink hands and smelled them deeply.  This was completely and totally unwelcome and shocking as it appeared to be turning her on.

“Whose blood is that??”

“Shit… Dayna… Let go you fucking weirdo," I snatched my hands back.  "I beat the fuck out of Zoloft in the back.”

“Yeah… Bull said you might have to do that…”  She looked at my hands like I thought she was going to lick them, and I hid them away behind my back.  She went back to looking for clover.  “I guess you're gonna learn what happens to a motherfucker when he runs his mouth.  You didn't kill him, did you?”

“Fuck… I hope not.  He was moving when I left.  I am going to the jeep to get the cables and gas can though.  Do you know what that’s about?”

“Yeah…He wants Benny to leave and shut his mouth... he was running his mouth at the bar in town last night...”  Now she was staring at the blood stains on my jeans.  “Are you guys gonna kill him?”

“Well, shit… I hope not.  But it doesn’t sound good.”  I sat down and pulled my pipe out of my shirt pocket.  I was beginning to get numb below my kneecaps.  I was scared.   I was excited.  Dayna grabbed my pipe and began loading it from a Ziploc bag she pulled from the weeds she was sitting in.  She was operating and looking at me intently.

“He said you were going to beat him senseless… did you?”  She had white cakey spit at the corners of her lips.

“Yeah… I guess I did.”  She lit the lighter under the glass bulb of the pipe and I watched the crystals melt into a puddle and smoke began to pull back into the stem and Dayna inhaled deeply.  When she filled her lungs she blew the hit through the pipe and cooled the puddle at the bottom of the bowl until it recrystalized.  She brought the bowl up to her eyes to watch the snowflake patterns form in the fresh dope.  I was starting to salivate and grabbed the pipe.

“Shit, Dee… you obviously know I’m on a tight schedule…”  I began the process again and listened to my friends girlfriend laugh like a maniac…

“You guys are gonna be busy!”  She laughed and I cooled the bowl.  I handed it to her.

“Yeah… I hope that motherfucker is gone or dead in a little bit.”

“He will be.  Bull said so.”

“Great…  I guess I should go finish up.” 

“Gonna take this with you?”  Dayna was talking as she lit the bowl. 

“Hell no... If I’m walking into a blood bath or a murder I don’t need to blame it on that.”

“Whatever… you’ll never get caught.  Bull likes you.  I might hate you… but he seems to like you.”  I reached for the pipe and she yanked it back and glared viciously at me.
“You better get…” she looked away… misty and high.
“Gotcha.”  I left while the getting was good.

Fuck… that was my last pipe, and what the fuck did she mean by all that?  

I wandered through the last fifty yards to the house and popped the jeep door open.  I grabbed a zipper bag of battery cables and went to the rear of the vehicle.  I had to take four bungee cords off of the gas can to loosen it.  When the task was done I made for the garage.  Fortunately it was only about a quarter of the distance I had walked to get up here.  I hope Bull was there waiting, as I was high and hopped up, and I knew that my feeling of acceptance of Zoloft's fate was only going to last as long as my buzz wore on.  I WAS pretty high.

I was surprised to see the swing doors to the garage open and inviting…  I immediately noticed Zoloft slumped in an old metal folding chair.  Bull was holding his head up by his hair and standing back as though his victim was a snake.

“Hey… Sorry.  I ran into Dee.”  I stammered and set the gas can and bag of cables down.

“Yeah.  I guess you’re already high then, huh?”

“Sure boss… always time for more though.”  I smiled and wiggled my tooth.

“Fuckin’ right there’s time for more.  Wrap him up.”

“With what, Boss?”

“The fucking cables man.  Wrap him tight and clamp those things somewhere unpleasant to wake him up.”  He dumped a large bag of dope out onto piece of glass on a workbench and grabbed a spark plug boot from a bag on the workbench.  He began pacing the garage.  Seconds later he had pulled apart a tire pressure gauge and broken his own personal glass pipe at the bulb.  He put the metal tube from the gauge into one end of the boot and stuck the stem of the glass pipe into the other end “Where the fuck is a torch?”

“Back behind the anny tank, Boss.”

He walked to the tank and grabbed the torch.  I was uncomfortable with his energy.  He wasn’t acting friendly towards me at all.  “Hey… let’s not do this man,”  I quasi-asked, pulling the cords tight across Zoloft’s chest.

He had the football sized cylinder tank of propane in his hand, unwinding the torch-head.  When he had the tank separated from the nozzle, he pulled back like a quarterback and spiraled the metal tube into Zoloft's groin.  I had all I could do to get out of the way.  Zoloft sprang to life and let loose with a high pitched scream.  He turned his beaten head towards me and spat in defiance… still unable to lift his arms.  I pulled the cords tightly and squeezed he black clamp open and attached the copper points to the gaping right side of his mouth.  He let out another scream…
“Don’t move or scream motherfucker… I’ll rip your face wide open.”  I couldn’t believe how comfortably wicked I had become.  I looked up to see Bull smiling as he reached down to pick up the propane cylinder rolling towards his feet.  Zoloft was fighting against not only the cords I wrapped him in, but the Duct tape Bull had tied his hands and ankles in before I got there… that I had failed to notice.  His eyes plead with me… but I ignored them and squeezed the red cable’s clamp and grabbed a piece of skin and meat underneath his chin.

“Niiiiiiiiice.”  Bull remarked as Zoloft moaned through his battery-cable fish hook.

“Now what?”  I asked.

“Wanna do a fat hotline?”  Bull was absolutely glowing.

“Dude… what the fuck happened?  Why is Zoloft sitting where he is?  What the fuck are we doing?”

Bull was hanging the glass end of the tooter in the propane flame he had lit.  It was turning red.  His eyes were blue and glowering.  I was numb from the waist down.  He turned the red hot glass into the pile of dope and inhaled deeply.  This wasn’t a hotline… it was hot pile.  He walked to our captive and blew his hit in Zoloft’s face.  I grabbed the tooter and did the same.

“Hey fucker…” Bull demanded.  “Who'd you tell about this farm?”  He slapped Zoloft’s bloody head.

“WHAT?  Fuck You mother fuckers…”  To reiterate… it just didn’t sound right when Zoloft swore at us in English.

I finished my hit and watched the show.

Bull grabbed the yellow gas can and took the lid off…  he waved it in front of Zoloft.  “See this you fucking drunk Russian?  I’m gonna soak you in it and watch you beg me not to light you on fire… YOU FUCKING FAT, drunk cho-moe looking prick.”  A little of the cans contents splashed from the container onto Zoloft’s face.  His eyes widened inside their swollen lids.

            “Ha!  You like to scare people… but you aren’t so tough…” I’m assuming that’s what he said through his busted lips.

            Bull swung the gas can back and hit Zoloft full stride.  He began dumping the contents of the can onto our Russian captive.  Zoloft began to fight and I watched his cheek tear away with the clamp I had placed on it still attached to the loose piece of meat.  Blood and Gasoline began run onto his tight shirt.  His cheek swung down to his chin, still attached to the clamp.  He stopped moving but shivered intensely.

            Bull stepped back and grabbed me by the back of the head…

            “What a mess, man…” 

            “Fuck.”  Was all I could say.  My body had become numb and I wanted to kill Zoloft to keep him from telling on us for torturing him like this.  It made sense to me.  I had no sense of wrong, except that I might not be able to get another hotline off that big pile of dope Bull had put on the glass at the workbench.

            “You cannot burn me without burning yourself you fucking cunt…”  Zoloft spat at both of us.

            “Who fucking cares?”  and Bull pulled the can over his own bald head and mine.  The gasoline poured onto us and burned my eyes but I kept them open, fueled by my Bosses rage.  “You think that prison is any different than burning myself to death?”  Bull pulled a pink Bic lighter from his soaked jeans and began rubbing the igniter.  “Fuck you you drunk piece of shit.  You either leave hear mutilated… or I burn all of us.  I’m not going back to prison on account of your rambling, drunk ass.”

            I wasn’t scared… But I couldn’t breathe… but I didn’t think I was going to get hurt, but Zoloft, on the other hand, had just about had enough.

            “STOP… STOP… don’t light it.  I’m sorry.  I will leave.”

            “Well no shit you fucking dumbass... Don't you fucking talk about this farm to another living creature... or I will burn you're ass and eat the remains, do you fucking understand me?” Bull was holding the glass in the flame again.... No concern for his gas soaked clothes.  “Brother, cut his tape off… But let him take the clamps off.” 

            I did as I was told and Zoloft darted out of the garage leaving a trail of gas and blood.  Me and Bull got high as kites and dumped kitty litter everywhere a stain had existed.

            We erased what we had done to Zoloft.

This work is the intellectual property of Jerome J. Panozzo