Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Trouble With Developing A Conscience

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 Fifteen
              I wish I could tell you that after we crushed up those pills in the pile of blister packs, cracked the tank of anhydrous ammonia, and cooked that dope up that it was the last of our adventures.  I wish I could tell you that, but I would never dream of beginning to lie at this late stage of the game.  Our yield that night was somewhere around thirty grams of dope, of which Bull relinquished about ten grams to my possession without much thought.  I had a giant metal bolt and nut that I had found in a pile of hardware in one of Bull’s garages that I used as a stash spot for the dope I carried off the farm.  I had cut the huge bolt into two pieces at about three inches from the end, and hollowed out the inside of the larger piece with a milling machine.  I could screw the giant nut over the top of that hollowed out piece and close the stash up by attaching the other piece of the
bolt that I hadn’t hollowed out.   If I needed to travel with a fairly large amount of dope (which it appeared I was going to be doing) this could be filled with baggies of product, closed up and tossed in the back of just about any truck on the property, and no law enforcement official would ever know any better, as it looked like just about any other piece of trash or scrap in the back of any other vehicle we drove.  It was heavy and awkward, but not as heavy and awkward as a prison sentence.
            Dayna still hadn’t moved from the couch when we returned to the house just before dawn.  The puppy didn’t seem to have moved much either, so Bull picked him up, much to the pup’s vocal protests, and placed him on the front porch to do his potty business.  We sat down at the round table to get high and think about what we were going to do next.
            “Fuck Boss… what’s next?”  I sighed, as I looked at the pile of dope Bull was unwrapping from the coffee filters we had used to separate the white powder and crystals from the white gas (or Coleman Camp Fuel) we used to rinse it.  The dope wasn’t quite dry yet, which strangely enough was my particularly favorite time to smoke it.  Bull often tried to warn me off of doing this… as he would smile and show off his less than brilliant smile.

            “You keep smoking that wet dope, and you’ll end up with a smile like mine…”
            “I like my dope to be wet and fresh… and when I get a loose tooth, I’ll quit smoking it wet.”  I smiled and started to pack one of the clean pipes on the table.  I produced flame from a lighter underneath the glass ball of the pipe and watched the dope melt and begin smoking.  When smoke began to trickle from the hole on the top of the glass ball, I ignited the smoke with the flame of the lighter and waited for the combustible POOF of the fumes inside the ball to ignite.  We both jumped and smiled at this little trick, and began sharing the first of several bowls of dope between ourselves.  This barely put a dent in the pristine pile of white dope, drying on the coffee filters in the center of the filthy round table.
            “Well, what the hell are we gonna do, Boss?”
            “Well, we either gotta sell, or smoke an awful lot of this dope…”
            “Yeah… I see that…” I laughed uncomfortably, because my next query was going to make things uncomfortable again.  “I meant about Dayna’s boy.”
            “Honestly,” Bull stated matter-of-factly, immediately deflating my failed attempt at killing his buzz, “I don’t think we have time to worry about all that right now… because if the law comes breaking down my door right now, we’re all gonna go to prison until that kid is in college… what with all this dope sitting in front of us.  Who do you know that wants to get high?”  Bull didn’t look up at me, just kept staring intently at the pile of  redneck marching powder in front of us.

            “Well, shit… just about everybody I know wants some dope.  Well… except my wife.”  We both smiled uncomfortably at the mention of my estranged spouse.  Bull threw his phone at me, pulled out his hip knife and scooped out a large pile of dope onto a large square mirror in front of him.  He used his finger to wipe the residue off of the black blade of the knife, and put it back on his hip.  He stuck the finger in his mouth, as it was covered in dope dust, and a trickle of blood from nicking it on his blade.
            “Start working and figuring out who wants some shit… cash only, and trade as a last option.  We need to stop making this shit here at home,” Bull said, and picked up a filthy razorblade from the table and started cutting the pile of dope on his mirror into manageable lines.  After a couple of swipes at the dope with the rusty razor, he flipped the blade on the floor, and said… “Fuck it… who are we kidding… we don’t need no lines.”  He grabbed his hotline tooter and ignited a propane torch on the table.  When the glass end of the tooter was red hot, he simply inhaled deeply from the pile and handed the mirror and apparatus to me.  I did the same and we repeated, exchanging tooter for pipe each time.  By the time this session was done I was numb, high-strung, and thinking not about working on liquidating some of the excessive product we were holding onto, but instead… cleaning the fucking table.  It was filthy.  Not to mention the sub-floor that the table sat on.  It DEFINITELY needed to be swept.  Bull noticed me organizing the garbage on the table into piles and looking frantically around the room at what else needed to be cleaned when he laughed out loud.
            “Hey geeker… We have other shit to do.”
            “Yeah, yeah… we do.   Let me pack this stuff up and put it in The Bolt and we’ll head over her way," I said, absent-mindedly pushing aside all of the garbage I was sorting to make room to package and sort through the dope.
              "Who's way?  Where are we heading?  Don't flake out on me now, brother... I need you on your A-game from here on out."  Bull said smiling at me expectantly.
              "Milly, boss... Milly's house.  I’ll bet we can get rid of most of it in the next hour if we’re lucky.”
            “You think so?  I dunno, man.  Milly is shady… and she has kids at that house.”  Bull said, drawing on the nearly dry pipe, and dropping another rock of dope into the hole on the bowl.  “I’ve had enough of involving kids with the problems I’ve created.”
            “I’ll tell her that her kids better be in bed…  Hell, its only 5 a.m., boss.”
            I texted Milly when we were in the truck, and driving in her direction… telling her that Bull didn’t wanna see any kids, and that hers had better be out of sight when we got there.  She simply answered my texts by saying:

            OK… LMFAO
Don't worry about my kids

            The sky was turning pink, blue, and purple when we pulled up onto Milly’s property.  There were four or five other cars parked in her front yard, and three in her driveway.  I got out of the truck, and started to rummage through the scrap in back for my bolt with the dope, when Bull grabbed my arm.
            “Let’s just see who’s all here… there’s an awful lot of vehicles and lights on in that house for it being as early as it is.”
            “Cool, boss… Let’s go.”  I walked up to the house, and knocked before I let myself in.  Bull followed close behind me.  We walked through her screened-in porch, and knocked on the second door to the house, which I found locked as I turned the doorknob.  I turned around and shrugged at Bull, as we waited for our hosts to unlock several chains and deadbolts from behind the flimsy door.  It was Milly, dressed in pajamas, who answered the door and invited us in sheepishly.

            “What’s going on, fellas?”  Milly asked, as we wandered into the darkened house.  There were several layers of blankets over the windows of the house, and several dimly lit light bulbs from lamps without lampshades provided the light we needed to get to her kitchen, where there was the sound of a group of people all talking at the same time, about what sounded like several different topics.  The kitchen door was closed off by another blanket, nailed to the door frame.  I pulled the blanket to one side, and surveyed the situation.  Milly was right behind me, and Bull was bringing up the tail end.  He didn’t look happy about being here.
            The kitchen table at Milly’s was filled with ashtrays and lit cigarettes.  The room was blue with smoke.  The people I heard talking were a group of kids barely out of high school, and there were several glass pipes traversing the hands of the group.  Everybody turned to see me walk in, including Milly’s mom, who was holding Milly's child, a toddler on her hip... while another girl was lighting a lighter underneath a glass bowl in Milly’s mom’s mouth.  I felt a yank on the hood of my sweatshirt, and turned to see Bull yank his thumb back towards the door we came in.  Without questioning him, I excused myself, and walked past Milly out the doors of the house and back to the truck.
            Milly followed us outside.
            “Hey… wait you guys… My mom was just putting her to bed.  Don’t go.  I’m sorry you had to see that.  You don’t even have to go back in the kitchen… let’s just go handle shit in my room,” Milly pleaded.
            “I told you that he didn’t wanna see any goddamned kids, Mill…” I said under my breath.
            Bull pushed past me and put his finger in Milly’s face, “No, Milly… it’s not that I don’t wanna see any goddamned kids… I love kids.  But Jesus Fucking Christ… your mom is holding that baby while somebody lights a bowl for her…  That’s just fucked up.  Get your shit together.  We lost Dayna’s kid today… I’m not having anything more to do with anybody else losing any more goddamned kids!”  Bull let himself in the truck, slammed his door and started the engine.  “Let’s go!” Bull hollered.  “Milly, I’ll be at home… if you need something, come out there by yourself… and I ain’t done yelling about this shit yet.”
            “Goddammit, Milly,” I said.  “What part of what I said did you NOT understand?  You know he’s just gonna scream at me all the way back now.  Thanks.  You’re a fucking idiot...”  I got in the truck and slammed the door.  Bull put the vehicle in gear, and we sped off down a lonely stretch of gravel road. 
            To my surprise, Bull didn’t say a word about what we saw at Milly’s ever again.  The trip back to the farm was long, and it was nearly noon before we pulled into the driveway of our familiar confines.  We hadn't spoken except to pack dope in a bowl and get high.  Regardless, Bull had fallen asleep several times at the wheel, so he was plenty rested.  On our way up to the porch of the farmhouse, Bulls phone vibrated.  

It was a text from Milly:

            On my way out there  
Im sorry

            “Milly’s on her way, boss.”
            “I figured she would be.”  Bull let himself into the house.  The puppy who had hampered out to meet us, was close behind him.  

I wasn't tired at all.

This work is the intellectual property of Jerome J. Panozzo

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