Tuesday, July 10, 2012

When I met him...(1)

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.
The circumstances leading up to my introduction to the notorious, three time ex-convict, illicit-drug manufacturer, dealer, user, and all around Bad Mother-Fucker known as Bull Gunville would be considered  reasonably expected by people who exist in my subculture.  People who didn’t exist in the Methamphetamine Subculture would find my insistence on meeting the man who created pure excellence in smokable, snortable, injectable, ingestible powder form absolutely unfathomable.  As I sat alone in the gravel driveway of this rundown farmhouse set on 80 acres of bone yard cars, old farm buildings, and piles upon piles of scrap metal and other valuable salvage materials, I actually was beginning second guess my decision as well.

          Just as I started to roll every possible, horrible outcome of this meeting around in my head, my friend and hustling partner at the time, Milly, poked her head out of the front door and waved me out of the car and into the house.  This was a surprise visit since Bull’s cell phone had run out of minutes and he couldn’t accept the usual texts advising him of an incoming visitor.  Milly had left me in the car alone while she walked the muddy path to the ramshackle porch which was sheltered only by a blue tarp barely hiding what looked like surveillance cameras peering off into either direction of the gravel road which ran past the property and back into mainstream, rural America, in order to clear my presence with the expectedly sketchy Bull Gunville.  I opened my car door, hit the automatic locks, stepped out of my car, slammed the door shut, and for just a moment the feeling of butterflies fluttered about in my abdomen as I too walked the muddy path to the shoddy porch which was indeed the home of two very nice surveillance cameras which appeared to be equipped with night-vision as well.  I was impressed, despite the outward appearance of the house.

            Milly stood at the door while I shuffled up to her.  I asked if everything was cool, to which she nodded furiously as if that question was borderline inappropriate.  We both stood and looked at each other for the briefest of moments and she pushed me through the door and into the house.  I had expected her to lead me in to introduce me, but clearly I was to make this appearance on my own while she closed and locked the door behind me.  I walked in humbly and with the greatest amount of reverence I could muster up despite my building sense of anxiety, which was not being aided by the large amount of meth we had smoked just before embarking on this adventure.

To my right was a living room which was in an obvious state of remodel.  To my left were several people seated at a large, heavy-looking, round table talking just below a level that I could hear from my current vantage point.  Sitting farthest away and at what was clearly the head of the table was a man with a brawler’s build, carrying 195 pounds or more, bald head shaved clean and shining in the fluorescent lighting of the room, with a neatly styled mustache and soul patch.  I could tell he was graying, and he appeared to be in his late 40’s or early 50’s.  He was missing most of the teeth in the front of his mouth, but this didn’t draw away from his keen and distinguished appearance.  His eyes were the bright blue of a propane torch flame, and I could immediately feel their inquiring stare as he began to size me up.  Before I could give him the opportunity to assume I was nervous I introduced myself and held my hand out to give a traditional introductory handshake.  This was greeted by a “What’s happenin’, man?” and instead of an open palm a fist was held out.  Fortunately for me I didn’t look like a jackass, as I had provided plenty of fist-bumps in the past and I closed my hand and bumped his knuckles with enough effort to bend my elbow, as his arm didn’t budge.  He was physically superior and prepared to let me know it.  I was comfortable with that, as I was here to establish a contact… not pick a fight.  He was the alpha-dog, and I was just starting to sniff asses at the back of the pack.  After our introduction I held my hand open again and introduced myself to the two women sitting on either side of him.

            I recognized the girl sitting to his right as an ex-girlfriend of one of Milly’s knuckleheaded, brain-dead, banging (needle using) associates nicknamed ‘Coffin’.  Her name was Dayna, and the last time I had seen her was at Milly’s house during a raging panic attack, as Coffin had taken off two hours earlier with another longtime female friend of his and Milly’s to go 10 miles down the road to buy parts to install a new toilet in Milly’s house.  Dayna, of course, assumed the worst of Coffin and his female companion, and was on the phone with the girl’s husband informing him of her suspicions.  She was not being very calm or quiet about it either.  I figured that Coffin and his friend Amanda had gotten lost while getting high, or something other than off fucking… Dayna did not.  When the two finally returned to Milly’s an all-out verbal war launched, as Amanda’s husband was not keen on her having any friends at all, let alone disappearing with Coffin for hours on end… information Dayna had been very forthcoming with along with the insecure notions of her man cheating on her with Amanda.  I quickly noticed the agitated conversation between Dayna, Coffin, and Amanda escalating and tried to keep to myself.  Milly’s mom was more than happy to smoke some dope with me at the kitchen table as the argument wore on into the evening hours.  Amanda left in tears after trying to talk her husband down, and Dayna left in her car with her three-year-old son in the carseat asleep and a driver’s side window that wouldn’t raise itself to the closed position in the cold January wind and frigid temperatures.  Coffin had all he could do to shrug his shoulders and try to pass the situation off as completely uncalled for and the product of a crazy, currently ex-girlfriend.  I saw her once after that in a gas station where I gave her a hug and asked if she was doing any better.  This turned out to be a most intuitive and fateful gesture on my part as, unbeknownst to yours truly she was now with Bull and had nothing but wonderful things to say about me. 

            As I looked around the room I noticed what the cameras were watching.  Several flat-screen monitors hung around the room showing the view up and down the road, and there were clearly many more cameras dispersed throughout the property as every couple of seconds a different view appeared, and the views hadn’t fully cycled by the time Bull demanded my attention again.          

He told me to grab a chair and pull up to the table.  It looked like there was damn near two grams of dope cut into large lines on a square mirror and a map-gas torch was burning away in front of it.  Bull quickly and efficiently re-cut the lines to include Milly and me, leaving the largest of the five lines for him.  I noticed a metal tube in the hand he wasn’t using to re-divide the lines.  The metal ‘tooter’ had a spark-plug boot on one end with a thick glass tube extending from the other opening of the boot.  I naively asked what we were doing, which was greeted by the most genuine and friendly laugh from Bull that I think I had ever heard.  Milly explained that I was just barely off of using foils, and probably didn’t know what all this was.  He smiled and stared at me, sizing me up again, and explained we were going to do ‘Hotlines.’  He actually asked if I was cool with that.  I shrugged and said, “sure, you’ll have to walk me through it, but I’m positive I can manage.”  He laughed again, and said he was positive too.  The process is a bit intimidating, but it turns out that unless you want to muddy up your arms with needle tracks, this is the best way to manipulate and ingest this particular style of illicit-drug.  Bull put the glass tip of the device in his hand into the flame of the map-gas until it was red hot.  Inserting the metal end of the device into one nostril, he slowly dragged the hot glass tube over his line, effectively melting and smoking the dope rapidly and in massive quantity.  We once timed his exhale of smoke at nearly seven seconds.  The man knew how to get high…

After watching the others continue in the same fashion, it was eventually my turn.  The only thing I had ever snorted before this moment was vast amounts of cocaine using a straw or pen tube as a tooter.  I had never imagined heating glass to nearly its melting point and holding it close enough to my face to feel the heat radiating from it while inhaling copious amounts of fresh, hot, and instantly effective smoke.  It was almost like being in high school again and getting stoned for the first time after smoking nearly an entire dime bag of grass searching for a buzz that I was convinced had gotten lost in my head.  I had been high before, but never anything like this.  I was instantly a fountain of relevant, interesting, funny conversation.  I was on such a roll that I later found out Bull had quickly made his decision about me, and I was informed that I was one of the freshest, funniest people he had met since he was younger than me.  Milly and I made a significant purchase and didn’t overstay our welcome.   I was pleased… but was completely unaware that I had just met a man who would completely change and enlighten my ideology and views of the world, people, and how we should treat one another.  I had just met the man I would come to call my great friend, brother, and master

This work is the intellectual property of Jerome J. Panozzo


  1. WOW!! What a great start to this blog!! A meth-head of this caliber will be your greatest friend?? I am intrigued to hear more....

  2. Jerry, Great job! :) You are a fantastic writer!!

  3. There are five(5) more chapters in the Blog Archive... keep reading!

  4. Just wanted to say thanks for the nice note about my dad on my blog (obviously not at all related to this blog post, sorry for the randomness). I know his impact is very far reaching and that he touched so many lives. Thanks for sharing with me. We all miss him so much.