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.
While Rhonda and Crystin began the ritual of preparing the dope for injection, I went to work on a piece aluminum foil from Rhonda’s kitchen. Using aluminum foil to smoke dope is kind of a horrible waste of product, but unless I wanted to take apart a light bulb, and go through all of the painstaking work of cleaning and preparing it for use as a makeshift glass pipe, this is what I was left with at the moment. It didn’t appear to me as though there were any light bulbs I could use in the house anyways, as most of the lighting was either fluorescent shoplight cylinder tubes, or the newer energy-efficient spiraling fluorescent bulbs. I didn’t have that kind of time anyways. I was starting to get as infectiously excited as these girls were to get high.
I carefully folded my piece of foil into a small trough, and disassembled a cheap ball-point pen Rhonda had procured for me to use as a tooter. I placed the foil and pen pieces on the table, and began to untie the baggie of dope. After I dropped a few rocks onto my foil, I passed the baggie to the now impatiently waiting Rhonda. I carefully picked up the foil, so as not to bounce any of the precious payload out of the makeshift trough, and held my lighter underneath the foil to melt the crystals. When the dope had melted and held its place more securely on the aluminum, and I took my seat and put the pen tube in my mouth and caught the smoke from the dope rising off the foil. I inhaled deeply, and sat back to watch Rhonda and Crystin.
Rhonda handed the baggie to Crystin who began carefully dropping rocks and powder into a precariously bent spoon positioned on the coffee table. Rhonda was pulling up her shirt sleeve to expose her forearm while Crystin drew water from a glass into a syringe. She then flooded the spoon with the water from the needle, instantly dissolving the dope. She recapped the sharp end of the syringe, and used the plunger end to stir the mixture in the spoon carefully, making sure to dissolve every last crystal so it wouldn’t get clogged in the microscopic hole in the needle. When she was satisfied that the dope was dissolved, she took a cigarette from a pack in her purse, and pulled the filter off. She discarded the tobacco, pulled a tiny piece of cotton off the filter, rolled it into a small ball, and dropped it into the spoon. She took the bright orange cap off of the sharp end of the rig, and gently placed it into the wet cotton ball and began to draw half of the mixture into the needle. She handed this one to Rhonda, and repeated the drawing process with a second syringe. She replaced the orange cap of the needle she would use, and carefully placed it on the coffee table and turned to Rhonda.
“Ready?” She asked.
“Oh, fuck yeah… I’ve been ready. Are you steady?” Rhonda looked at Crystin’s hands. Crystin held her hand out so Rhonda could see that she wasn’t shaking. Satisfied, she nodded. “Let’s do it.”
Rhonda handed the syringe she was holding to Crystin. She then grabbed her own arm at the elbow, effectively cutting off the circulation to her hand, and brought her veins bulging to the skin. Crystin tapped Rhonda’s forearm a little and inserted the needle into a waiting vein. She drew the plunger back enough to see blood being drawn into the syringe, and slowly depressed the plunger until all of the liquid inside was deposited into Rhonda’s waiting veins. She carefully removed the needle from Rhonda’s forearm, and drew fresh water into the syringe from the glass, and held it several inches from Rhonda’s waiting, open mouth. She depressed the plunger again, and water shot out of the needle like a squirt gun onto Rhonda’s tongue. They both laughed, and Rhonda sat back, audibly tasting the liquid in her mouth.
“Well, how’s it taste?” Crystin asked.
“Fuckin’ right,” I finally said, jaw agape and amazed at this ritual. “I gotta fuckin’ know what that was all about…”
Rhonda was silent for several moments, until she released her hand from her elbow and flexed the arm she had been injected in.
“Oh yeah… it’s good.” She sat forward and shook her head violently. “WHOOOO! Yeah… give me that bottle, youngin’”
I handed the bottle of vodka to Rhonda, and looked into her eyes. In the seconds that I held her gaze, I watched her pupils contract and dilate. She grabbed the bottle and sipped its contents. A second later she was standing up from the couch and had begun to pace. A film of sweat had broken out on her brow, and she was smiling wildly.
“You’re turn, sissy…” I got the impression from Rhonda’s tone that this wasn’t an attempt at insulting her friend, but more like calling her ‘sister.’
“Alright then…” Crystin sat back on the couch, and proceeded to administer to herself the same treatment she had just given her friend. She was very deliberate and fast about it, and it looked to me like she yielded the same results. In minutes they were both up off the couch, pacing and sweating. I sat back and watched the two of them as they fumbled around for CD’s of music they wanted to hear, and handed the bottle of vodka back and forth between each other. I began smoking my dope off the foil, and laughed in spite of myself. Crystin, who had been shy and very coy about keeping herself covered on the couch, had clearly forgotten that she was clad only in a small t-shirt and tiny, little panties. I diverted my eyes, when they both turned to hear me laugh… but it was too late.
“You better cover yourself up, Crystin… I’m starting to get a little uncomfortable.” I said, and inhaled deeply from my foil. She quickly darted into Rhonda’s bedroom, dropping the bottle of vodka on the floor. I put the foil down, laughing and retrieved the bottle before it made too much of a mess. Rhonda, laughing and sweating, walked out of the sitting room to get a towel from the kitchen.
“FUCK YOU GUYS!” Crystin slammed Rhonda’s bedroom door, and I could hear a frustrated, muffled scream from behind the wall. “I’m staying in here for now…”
“Don’t be like that, Crystin honey…” Rhonda hollered, now on her knees, blotting the vodka from the carpet with a towel. “This fella’s married anyways. He ain’t judging you’re figure… just you’re ability to forget you’re exposing it.”
“Right.” I agreed. “Forget about it…”
Crystin opened the door to the bedroom and walked back out, clearly pouting, but now she was covered in pajama pants and a bulky sweatshirt. “Well, fuck you all anyways.”
I took a long pull on the vodka bottle, capped it up, and chased it down with the remainder of my open beer. I looked at the foil on the table, and looked at my two, new, spun-out friends.
“Hells Bells, you guys. I’m feeling adventurous. Think you can load me up one of those like you did, and help get it into me?” I didn’t look at either of them when I asked. There was no answer, and I reached into my coat pocket to retrieve the other beer I had taken from the fridge. It was lukewarm, or ‘cowboy cold’ as Bull would say. The silence went on for another couple of seconds.
“Well, I thought you’d never ask…” Rhonda finally replied. “Are you sure?”
“Fuckin’ right, I am. I just gotta fuckin’ know what that’s all about.” I looked up and saw both of them staring at me, jaws dropped. “You ain’t gonna kill me now, right?”
“Who knows?” Crystin said, “But we’ll try our best.”
“I’d like to avoid it, if at all possible…” I smiled and got up to go sit on the couch. I picked up the bag of new syringes, and retrieved one from the bunch. “These are new, right? And clean?” I asked.
“Nothing but…” Crystin replied, sitting down on the couch several cushions away. She opened the baggie on the table and began depositing fresh dope in the spoon. When she had finished that much, she tied the baggie up and reached over to take the syringe out of my hand. I relinquished my hold on the needle, and slid down the couch to let Crystin inject me with my first blast of methamphetamine.
“This’ll change everything…” Crystin said.
“I figured it would,” I replied.
I figured right.
Crystin began preparing the needle, and I took off my jacket for the first time since entering Rhonda’s house. I pulled up the sleeve on my arm, exposing my forearm and my virgin veins, already bulging in anticipation of something I was unprepared for. I grabbed my arm where I had seen Rhonda grab hers, when Crystin turned towards me with the loaded rig.
“Naw, hon… you don’t have to do all that. Look.” She pointed at my veins, clearly visible at the surface of my skin. “That’s the sweet thing about first-timers… very little effort. Enjoy it… relax”
I did my best to relax as she leaned in with the sharp, and I watched as it penetrated my skin, and felt it break through the vein. She drew the plunger back a little, and I watched my own blood swirl back up and into the syringe. She began to depress the plunger slowly, and completely. When the liquid had been deposited in my veins, she withdrew the needle, and began to fill the syringe with fresh water from the glass on the table. By the time she was pointing it at my mouth, I could barely open my lips, as a rush was filling my body, and my teeth had begun to clench and my hair and scalp were beginning to get numb. I shook my head, and tried to say, “Wait…” I could feel a cold sweat break out on my face and the back of my neck.
“Oh damn, Crystin… is he gonna puke?” Rhonda asked.
“Maybe. It’s his first time. Get a garbage can, or bucket.”
“Hold on youngster, don’t puke till I get back.” Rhonda ran to the kitchen, and retrieved a stock pot from her cabinets. My chin was getting numb, like I was actually going to puke, and I leaned forward, beginning to rock back and forth to relieve the nauseated feeling. I closed my eyes.
“Damn…” I said. “Damn, damn, damn, damn damn…”
When I opened them, there was a stainless steel pot in front of my face, but the feeling had passed. What replaced it was an overwhelming feeling of euphoria, even though I was still sweating and rocking back and forth.
“Whew… that is a FUCKING RUSH!” I yelled. The gagging surprised me starting at the back of my throat, and what felt like nasal drainage that was caught somewhere between my esophagus and my stomach made me wretch. I grabbed the stock pot and dry-heaved, drooling profusely into the waiting receptacle. Rhonda grabbed my hair from inside the pot, where my face was still heaving, and the two girls began giggling.
When I had finished my fit, I sat up. Rhonda set the stock pot on the table in front of me, and patted me on the head.
“Well, how was that for ya?” She asked coyly.
I looked at Crystin, who was sitting back on the couch watching me from behind her pillow again.
“Knock that shy, girly shit off,” I said. “I think we’ve leveled the playing field for embarrassing shit today.”
She lowered the pillow, and held the syringe she had used to inject me up to my mouth. I opened up, and she fired the water onto my tongue. It tasted horrible, but I felt fantastic. She capped the syringe and handed it back to me.
“Round two, anyone?” Crystin asked.
“Hell, I’m ready.” Rhonda replied and clapped her hands.
“Fuck, I guess I’ll ride this out for awhile…” I said, “but that foil and shit is for the birds.”
Everything had changed.
This work is the intellectual property of Jerome J. Panozzo