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

No comments:

Post a Comment