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I've been all over the place lately. At the beginning of the summer I was plowing through the Needles, Names, and Numbers drafts, ultima...

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Scheming With The Butcher

Jeff Glinsky has sent you a message on Facebook!

“What’s good bro? You get a new number? I been calling you all week.”

I check my phone. No missed calls. He must’ve been calling my old burner.

“Sorry man, yeah, it’s XXX-XXX-XXXX.”

My cell phone rings and I answer it. I’m pretty sure I can guess what happens next.

“Jeff?”

“Yo! Harry! What’s good, man? You going to Tribe tonight?”

Shit, that IS tonight, isn’t it?! God fucking damn it, I completely forgot. I NEVER miss STS9…

“Is it sold out? I thought it was next weekend.”

“Yeah it’s sold out, but I got an extra spot on guest list if you want it.”

I haven’t been to a show in months, maybe even a year. I fell out of the scene right around the time the heroin showed up and the money ran out. Funny how that works.

“Uh… Sure, man! I’ll take it. Thanks.”

“No problem bro. Just show your ID at will call and you’ll have a ticket. How’s everything been with you, anyway? I haven’t seen you at any shows lately.”

“Well Jeff, it’s funny you should mention it. A few months ago I made the conscious decision to withdraw from society and devote my life to heroin…”

“I’ve just been really busy with work and shit, man. I’m tryna save money for a new place, y’know?”

“Yeah, I feel you. Hey, you think you could…”

“Here it comes…”

“…Help me out with some party favors for tonight?”

“Called it!”

“Hmmm… I’ve actually been out of the game for a little while now, but I still might be able to help you out. What’re you looking for?”

“Aw, really? Well I’m looking for a gram of Molly and a half strip of L if you know anybody.”

“Let me make some calls, I’ll definitely help you out if I find anything.”

“Thanks, bro. Either way I’ll see you tonight!”

“Yup. Later, man.”

My junky instincts tell me that I’ve already won. Jeff’s kindness has been his downfall. He should’ve asked me for the drugs before offering the ticket. I could hear the disappointment in his voice as he hung up. But Jeff is a good person, and I’ve fucked over enough people for this lifetime. I know the crushing disappointment of being blown off by your connect all too well, so I start making calls. It’s harder than I thought. Usually when I want Molly or acid I go through the darknet. I haven’t even bothered with local street dealers in quite a while. The best I can find is some sass, which Jeff accepts out of desperation. I tell him I’ll meet him outside the venue in a few hours.

This will be my fifth time seeing STS9, and the first time without being fried out of my skull on some sort of psychedelic. I thought about maybe grabbing myself some sass for the night but decided against it. Rolling alone kinda sucks, though I guess you’re never truly alone in the jam scene. I don’t know if or how long I’ll be chilling with Jeff tonight, but I guarantee I’ll see plenty of familiar faces. Which kinda sucks. I have no good answers for how and where I’ve been these last few months. I’ll be telling some lies tonight, no doubt.

After my arrest I got drunk and deleted all my dealers’ numbers. Boy did I regret that in the morning. But it worked. A lack of connects, money, and fear of going to the city to cop again has kept me clean for eight weeks. So at least I don’t have tracks to cover up. I still have a few hours before doors. Better get nice and loaded before I head to the venue.

My alcohol tolerance is kinda scary. In my dealing days I could drink a fifth of whiskey in a night and have little to no hangover the next day. I’ve cut down to just the weekends now, but I can still drink a staggering amount of hard liquor before I get sloppy or embarrassing. I grab a fifth of bottom shelf whiskey and kill half of it before I leave. I dump some more into a personal sized coke bottle to keep my buzz going on the bus and train rides to the venue. I’m nice and loose by the time I arrive. As I approach the venue I see a long line of kids in flat brim hats adorned with the headiest of pins. Chicks in those weird yoga pants with the psychedelic and cosmic designs on them. Dilated pupils and smiles for miles.

“Yooo! What’s good!?” Jeff greets me in line with a smile. I dap him up and he subtly hands me the $80 for his gram of sass. We merge into the crowded line and I hand him the goods. “Thanks a lot, bro. For real.” He says as he lights a smoke. “No problem, man. Thanks for the ticket. I totally forgot this was tonight, I’ve been wicked busy lately…” “Yeah it’s gonna be dope for sure. You’ve met my girlfriend, right…?” Jeff motions to the short girl with pink and blue hair next to him. “Suzie, right?” I guess. “Yup! And you’re the molly man!” She replies with a smile. “Hehe, I used to be, not so much anymore… I go by Harry these days.” “What made you get out, if you don’t mind me asking? You didn’t get popped or anything, did you?” Jeff asks. “No, no, nothing like that. It was just… time, you know? You can’t do that shit forever. I had my fun, but you gotta know when to walk away. To tell ya the truth, it’s nice to not have to look over my shoulder anymore.” I lie. Jeff nods. “Definitely. I can’t imagine how much dough you and your boy made at The Bay last summer! You must have a nice little retirement fund set aside, huh?” I grit my teeth and smile. “Yeah, I remember seeing you guys there like every weekend!” Suzie adds. “I did alright.” I say modestly. “You’re right Jeff, I made a lot of money! And I put it all up my nose, in my stomach, and in my arms to make sure nobody steals it!” “Well, we gotta go grab our tickets at will call, thanks again bro. I’m sure I’ll see you inside!” Jeff says. “No problem man, see you in there!” “Bye Molly Man!” Suzie says as she follows Jeff to will call. A random hippie in line overhears her and turns to me. “Are you the molly man?” He asks in a spaced-out, Tommy Chong voice. “Not anymore, man.”

“You have anything to drink tonight, pal?” The man distributing wristbands asks me as I show my ID. My speech isn’t slurred, I’m not stumbling, but my breath stinks of whiskey. “No sir.” I say, making direct eye contact with him. “You sure?” “Yes.” “You really sure? You can tell me, you know.” This guy really thinks he’s a fucking cop. “I haven’t had anything to drink, sir.” Paul Blart gives me the up-and-down look as if that’s any indication of whether I’ve been drinking and reluctantly gives me a wristband. I’ve stumbled into this club hundreds of times on several different narcotics without security batting an eye. Figures the one time I go in legally intoxicated they decide to bust my balls.

Holy shit, everyone is fucked up. But that’s to be expected at an STS9 show. I go to the bar and buy a single shot of crown royal. “Ten dollars.” The bartender says flatly. I wince as I hand her my card to start a tab. I remember when I’d go out with $250 as my nightly drinking budget and still come out of the club having made money. After this shot I’ll be stuck drinking PBR all night. Suddenly, a sweaty hand slams down on my shoulder. I nearly choke on my shot. “Can I help you?!” I ask, annoyed as I turn to face my attacker. “Hey man!” A kid with gigantic pupils and a big smile says to me. He pulls me in for a great big hug, sponsored by Ecstasy. “Hey, man…” I reply with uncertainty. “Let me the fuck go right now, you’re covered in sweat.” He lets go, as if to read my mind. “I haven’t seen you around in so long! You remember me, right?” I don’t remember him at all, but this isn’t the first time this kind of thing has happened. “Oh, fuck! What’s good, dude! Sorry, I’ve had a lot to drink, I had no idea who you were at first. I was like ‘who the fuck is this guy hugging me’?” Lie number three. “Then what’s my name?” He asks. “Uh….” “I was trying to be nice, now you’re just pissing me off…” “Ah, I’m just fucking with you, man!! Hey, I got a couple friends looking for some…” “I’m outta the game, man. I wish I could help you out. Enjoy the show though, alright!” I turn my back to him and bolt into the crowd.

As the opening act leaves the stage, a herd of hippies spills out into the smoking section. That’s when I saw him. The Butcher. “Oh shit!” I hear him yell as he approaches me with a smile. He calls himself The Butcher ‘cause it’s his actual job. Anticlimactic, I know. Our paths had crossed a few times at various shows where I’d sold him tabs and Molly. One night out I was snorting coke with him and he asked me if I fucked with brown. That’s when I decided to keep my distance from him. I already thought he was a sketchy dude to begin with, and the fact that he did heroin skeeved me out even more. But much has changed in the last year, and for the first time ever, I’m happy to see him.

“Butcher! What’s up, brotha!” “Where the fuck have you been, man!? You never answer your fuckin’ phone, you get locked up or something?” He asks. The “I shoot dope face” is a tough thing to describe if you’ve never seen it before. Visible cheekbones, a grey complexion, pinned eyes, The Butcher has it all. I can’t see his arms under his sweatshirt, but I’d bet money he isn’t just “snorting the shit on and off” anymore. “You’re like the billionth person to say that shit to me tonight. I been out of the game for a minute now. I tossed my burner, that’s probably the number you’ve been calling.” The Butcher lights a smoke. “Fuck. So you’re not holding?” I shake my head. “’Fraid not. You look like you’re having fun, though.” I motion to my eyes. The Butcher smirks and takes a pull from his cigarette. “Yeah, I’m feeling alright.” “Between you and I…” I begin, lowering my voice. I pause for a moment. “Don’t you fucking dare, you junky bastard. Eight weeks. Eight god damn weeks!” The Butcher looks at me in confusion. “…Do you still fuck with brown?” No sense beating around the bush. The Butcher chuckles and exhales a plume of smoke. A smart-ass grin creeps across his face. “So that’s what happened to you.” I nod and light another cigarette. “I fell off big time. But my connect got popped a couple weeks ago. Think you could help me get on your level? I’ll make it worth your while.” “Yeah, man. I can help you out. I don’t think I can do it tonight, but if you’ll be around tomorrow I can definitely make it happen.” “Yeah, I’ll be around tomorrow. Let me get your number…”“Fuck…”

\Mercifully, no one else recognizes me for the rest of the show. I still miss being a drug dealer, but I forget about that as Tribe takes the stage. I fucking love live music. Somewhere along the line I started loving drugs more. In a rare display of self-control, I cut myself off after a few beers. I thought seeing a jam band without hallucinogens might get boring, but I’m loving every minute of this set. The average age of those in the crowd varies wildly, but the younger kids rolling and tripping their faces off give me a rush of nostalgia. They remind me that drugs used to be fun, and that I’m getting older. Damn.

Tribe closes it out with Scheme and everyone goes fucking crazy. I walk out of the venue tired and sweaty, but happy. This show has provided a much-needed release, and tomorrow I get to do heroin! I don’t know how I feel about that last bit, actually. I have been doing well, and it’s not too late to just delete The Butcher’s number….

“Check this shit out, dude. I got fuckin…” The Butcher begins to nod out. I’m in his shitbox of a car on the way to go cop with him. “Yo!” He slowly rises back to consciousness. We haven’t even left his apartment and it’s already looking grim. He just had to kill the last of his stash before he grabbed more. “Shit, sorry. I got fuckin’ STS9’s set from Vibes 2012 on my phone…” The Butcher plugs his phone into one of those ghetto cassette adapters that goes into the tape deck of his car stereo. “I thought they kinda sucked last night, dude. That broad they got playing bass isn’t as good as the old guy. But this set right here, I was there for this shit. Best fucking time I ever seen ‘em, dude.” I nod as we begin driving, clutching a bottled water and trying to mask my paranoia. “You go to any fests this summer?” The Butcher asks. “Nah. Not since I started with this shit…”

As we drive further into the city my surroundings become more and more familiar. We’re heading towards the hood. Not just any hood, but the hood I used to cop at. The last time I was here, I left in cuffs. The Butcher drives slowly down the street I got busted on as if to mock me. He slows down to a complete stop and grabs his phone. My heart is pounding in my chest. I’m scanning each and every parked car we pass for detectives playing a game of “find the white boy.” “Oh, fuck… It’s the next street…” The Butcher mumbles. We turn onto the next street and park at the side of the road. “He doesn’t like me parking outside his spot. You got that bread?” I hand him my money and he goes to meet the man. “You’re a fucking moron, you know that? Forget about the judge showing you any mercy now. You’re done…” I take a deep breath. Panicking will help no one. The Butcher’s shitbox blends in in the ghetto. At least there’s that. None of the other cars seem occupied or look as though they’d be driven by cops. All I can do is pray to junky Jesus…

The Butcher returns a few minutes later. He takes his sweet time walking back to his car, which does little to ease my anxiety. “There you go, man.” He says as he drops my bag of dope in my hand. I immediately put it in my mouth and take the cap off my water bottle. “Jesus, dude. Little paranoid are we?” The Butcher says as he starts his car. “Hehe, never can be too careful.” The Butcher puts his dope inside his glovebox and locks it. I assume he thinks cops can’t look there, since Jay-Z said so in “99 Problems.” But I know that cops can do whatever the fuck they want.

The Butcher brings me back to his apartment. I’m riding on one ass cheek the entire time. When we finally get back to my car I feel safe again. “Alright dude, enjoy that shit, call me whenever you need some.” He says as I dap him up. “Thanks for helping me out, man.” I’m ecstatic as I drive home with my prize stuffed into my sock. “I did it! I fucking did it!! I WIN!!!” I crank The Disco Biscuits as I drive like an old lady all the way home. I have to make a quick stop at Walgreens to grab spikes. My lucky day gets even luckier as I approach the pharmacy counter and see the Asian guy is working tonight. If that frumpy cunt Kathy was working I’d get shot down. But the Asian doesn’t give a fuck. He understands the futility in denying me my spikes. I have to resist the urge not to skip and whistle back to my car as I walk out of the store.

Rip bag open.

Pour in spoon.

Mix with water.

Draw into syringe.

Register…

“Oh fuuuuuck…”

I slump back into my chair and float away. The rush fades, but the nod doesn’t follow. I did a pretty big shot, especially for someone with two months off. “Fuck, two months. Two months down the god damn drain…” This dope isn’t even that good. All that anxiety, all that bullshit, for this…

I know what I have to do.

It’s for the best.

“Delete ‘The Butcher’ from your contacts?”

Sigh…

“Yes.”

Time for another shot…

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Hundred Needle Dash

My middle-man has vanished. I could cry right now. He was the best god damn middle man I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. Cautious, punctual, honest, and he was five minutes away from my house. It’s a loss I mourn to this day. For just $20, he would risk a felony to deliver you some of the best dope in town. Not all heroes wear capes.
           
Now it’s payday and the fate of my weekend hangs in the balance. For the last four months I’ve developed a routine: buy a gram of dope, binge for three days, suffer for three days, recover, repeat. I’ve recently discovered Loperamide, which has revolutionized my heroin use. It cures the withdrawal symptoms almost entirely, and unlike Suboxone, I can easily steal it from my local Wal-Mart. I can have my cake and eat it too. But it doesn’t seem as though I’m gonna be able to go through my routine this time. I simply cannot imagine what would happen if I wasn’t able to score dope for the weekend. I could actually have extra money for once, I could get some writing done, I could… I can’t. Time to get creative.

Through some shady internet finagling, I find someone who says they can help me. They’re in a notoriously shady city that’s far away, but accessible by public transportation. Neither of us have cars because heroin. I tell him I’ll call him when I get off work at 8. It’s 5:30. I have two and a half hours before I can meet shady internet person who I hope does not plan on stabbing or robbing me, or both. I need to buy new spikes. The Wal-Mart up the street only sells them in boxes of 100, which is kind of obnoxious. I’ll have to stop by before I embark on my journey. Looking at my itinerary on Google Maps, it looks like it shall be quite the pilgrimage. A bus will take me from Wal-Mart to the subway. I will then take a half hour train ride to another train that will take me on a 45 minute ride to the station where Internet Heroin Person will be waiting for me. If I leave work at 8 I should get back in time to catch the last bus home and get home by midnight. Let’s do this.

I sneak out of work at 7:30 and grab a box of needles from Wal-Mart. It’s summer time so I take off my work shirt and apron and throw them in the bag with my needles. I’m now wearing a sweat-stained white-t and some worn out jeans, holding a plastic bag with a box of 100 syringes and my work uniform inside, on my way to meet a stranger from the internet to buy heroin and hopefully not get robbed or arrested. As I wait for the bus I call Internet Heroin Person and let him know I got out a little early and am on my way to the station. The bus is running late as I stand on the street smoking cigarettes and saying horrid things about the bus driver under my breath. The bus finally bumbles its way here, and I hop on, desperately trying to distract myself with podcasts and music.

Internet Heroin Person calls me just as I get off of train number one to get on train number two. “Hey man, can you like, meet me at (insert subway station even farther the fuck away from me) instead of (original agreed upon meeting place)?! I’m sorry man, I’m just… I had court today, and I’m really tired ‘cause I didn’t sleep, and it’s already late…” I sigh as train number two pulls in. “Yeah, that’s fine man, I’ll let you know when I’m there.” Internet Heroin Person, who I’m gonna call Clarence from here on out, thanks me for my understanding. I’m a little annoyed, but I’m not a god damn quitter, so I hop on the train and continue my journey.

Train number two takes about 45 minutes before I get to the original meeting place. According to Clarence, I can take one of three buses to the new spot. “I must be getting closer, there’s junkies fucking everywhere.” I think to myself as I wait for the bus. A gust of wind comes through and the “You’re not a diabetic, asshole, what are you doing with these needles?! Get some help for fuck’s sake.” Pamphlet that they give you when you buy needles falls out of my bag. A woman picks it up, realizes what it is, and gives me a stern look as she hands it back to me. Whoops.

20 minutes go by and not a single bus comes through. Sick of waiting, I call an Uber. It allegedly arrives just a few minutes later, but there seems to be a problem. The Hispanic gentleman driving it no speaky English very well and can’t find me. “You know what, fuck it. Cancel the ride. Cancel the ride. No, no, no, no more. Cancel the ride.” I’m beginning to grow irritable because I’m in a shithole of a city in shitty clothes carrying around a case of hypodermic needles like an asshole. Papi finally gets the message that his services are no longer needed and likely calls me something profane in his native tongue. My phone is down to 15% battery as I call another Uber. Clarence calls me and asks where the fuck I am. “Fifteen minutes man, sorry.” I reply as the new Uber pulls into the station.

Uber number two is driven by a jolly fat man who asks too many questions. “Headed to the bus station, eh? It’s pretty late, you sure they’re still running?” “Yeah, well, I’m actually meeting a friend there. He’s gonna pick me up. I ended up going to the station you grabbed me at by mistake.” I have become a pretty damn good liar these last few months. “Oh. Why wouldn’t he just take the ride to grab you instead of making you pay for an Uber? Doesn’t really sound like a good friend, if you don’t mind me saying.” The balls on this guy… “Haha, you know, he is kind of a fucking asshole. But he means well.” I laugh it off, but inside I’m fuming. I just want to be home with my fucking heroin already.

“Where’s your friend? I don’t see anybody here!” The Uber driver asks as we reach our destination. “Oh he just texted me, he’s running a little late. You can drop me here man, thanks!”  The Uber driver shrugs and lets me out. “Just a word to the wise, this place is pretty shady. Lotta junkies around here. Just be careful, you know?” “I’ll be careful man, thanks again.” With five percent battery left on my phone, I call Clarence. “Be there in two minutes, man.” He says in a droning, whiny voice.

Clarence shows up just a few minutes later. He looks kind of like Bassnectar if Bassnectar was a heroin addict that liked to pick his face when he got high. “I gotta see some tracks before we go any further, man.” He instructs me, and I comply. At this point I’m pretty sure he isn’t a cop. “OK cool. So like, how long have you been doing this?” He asks as he counts out my hundred dollars. I’m pretty fucking paranoid since we’re standing around this deserted bus stop that may or may not even still be open doing a heroin deal. “Just a few months, honestly. Been banging it the whole time.” Clarence hands me my gram of dope that I immediately put in my mouth. “Oh, alright, well, this stuff isn’t good enough to murder you, but it’s pretty fucking fire, man.” There is a moment of silence as I wait for Clarence to smile or laugh or acknowledge the absurdity of what he just said, but it never comes. I have to stifle my own laughter before I accidentally choke on my heroin. “Cool man, thanks.” I reply, dapping up Clarence as a bus rolls into the station.

Before I can put my earbuds in on the bus I hear someone shouting. “I DID IT ASSHOLE, I TOOK THE FUCKING WALK, I EVEN BEAT YOU HERE! FUCK YOU MOTHERFUCKER!” Outside the bus, an older gentleman wearing a wife beater and a backpack is screaming hurtful words at the bus driver. “GO FUCK YOURSELF YOU FUCKING CRACKHEAD! YOU’RE NOT GETTING ON THIS GOD DAMN BUS! FUCK OFF! YOU’RE A FUCKING CRACKHEAD!!” The bus driver screams back as we prepare to leave the station. The irate man outside is missing several teeth, and I believe the bus driver’s assertions of his crack cocaine use are accurate. “I’M CONTACTING YOUR SUPERIORS, COCKSUCKER! I’M PRESSING FUCKING CHARGES, YOU HAD NO RIGHT TO KICK ME OFF THIS BUS ASSHOLE!” “YOU’RE INSANE, YOU’RE A FUCKING CRACKHEAD, GO FUCK YOURSELF!” The bus driver retorts as the doors between them close and we drive away.

We get halfway to the station and pick up a junky couple that, shockingly, doesn’t have the money for bus fare. “How many fucking times am I gonna fucking do this?!” The bus driver asks the guy as his girlfriend sits down. I can’t hear what the guy is saying, but it doesn’t seem to be working. “Well what about her, huh?” The bus driver asks the guy, motioning to the girl who is either nodding the fuck out or just hanging her head in shame. I see that her eyes are open and she’s on the verge of tears. Now I feel bad. “I can’t keep fucking doing this for you two, I gotta let you off. I told you last time it was the last time. I can’t lose my god damn job over this.” The bus driver says as we pull over. The guy isn’t pleased to hear this and pulls a giant handful of change from his pocket. “That’s not enough for the two of you, get off. Now.” The bus driver says sternly. “You know what?! Fine! Fuck you. Let’s go, now.” He says to his girlfriend who says nothing as they shuffle off of the bus. The girl can’t even bare to look the bus driver in the eye as she follows her boyfriend off the bus. She just hangs her head and squeaks out a  “Sorry…” as she steps off. Just before the doors can close, the guy throws all the change at the bus driver and gives him a parting “Fuck you!” Jesus H. Christ, this bus driver puts up with a lot of shit.

On the train ride back my mind is no longer dominated by my lust for heroin. Sitting in the empty cab, I catch a glimpse at my reflection in the window across from me. A sense of shame washes over me as reality sets in, like when you’re jerking off to some really weird porn and finally cum, and get that “What the fuck am I doing?!” feeling. For the record, I fucking hate feeling feelings. Well, some feelings. Numbness and euphoria are cool, most of the other ones suck though. The train stops and nobody gets on. My seat is at the end of an aisle, and a piece of plastic at the end keeps anyone from seeing my lap. Another stop, nobody gets on. I look down at my bag. I got spikes, smokes, dope, and a nearly empty bottled water. All the supplies are there, but am I really gonna shoot up on the fucking subway? Another stop, nobody gets on. Guess I am gonna shoot up on the fucking subway. Miraculously, I’m able to hit my main vein first try without even tying off. I melt into the bus seat and turn up the Nahko and Medicine For the People playing in my earbuds. Mission accomplished. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Middle-Man Mike

As I pull out of the liquor store parking lot, I hear my phone buzz. The glow from the screen lights up my car as I drive home to spend another Saturday night drinking cheap whiskey by myself. I pull into my driveway and check the message, praying it’s one of my heroin dealers whose number I deleted in one of my many blackouts where I swore I was getting clean “for real this time.” But it’s not a dope dealer; it’s Middle-Man Mike. “U need yay, cid, bud, oil, whatever, I got a new connect with good shit and good prices.” Fuck. I’m not supposed to be doing drugs. I have court in less than a week for a heroin possession charge, and my counselor and lawyer would be less than thrilled about me doing hard drugs. But in order to get mad at me for doing drugs, they have to find out about me doing drugs, and if they never find out I did drugs, did I even do drugs to begin with?

I punch the steering wheel, sigh, and start texting Middle-Man Mike, asking what this dude’s coke prices are like. Seconds later he calls me, informing me that this guy will sell me half a ball of fire coke for $80, or a full ball for $160. Tempting to say the least. The voice of reason in my head makes a final attempt to dissuade me when I open my wallet and see I only have $70. “I don’t know if I can swing it, man, I could only spend like 50 bucks max.” I tell him. But Middle-Man Mike assures me this is not an issue, and that he can accommodate me as long as I accommodate him. He tells me he’ll be at my house in 10 minutes to take me to meet the new connect.

As I get in Middle-Man Mike’s car I’m tempted to ask him if this dude sells heroin, but I resist. Middle-Man Mike is a former dope fiend himself, and I know he won’t judge me, but you know how people talk. The label of “heroin addict” is a scarlet letter, even amongst fellow drug users. Middle-Man Mike exchanged his daily dope injections with monthly Vivitrol shots years ago, but he is still incredibly well connected and can get you pretty much anything you want, as long as you make it worth his while. Hence why everyone calls him Middle-Man Mike. As we leave my house Middle-Man Mike informs me that the coke dealer is just 30 minutes away, or several hours in drug dealer time. In the meantime I accompany Middle-Man Mike as he gets an alcohol run for some high school kids and arranges a few more coke deals for other people. Middle-Man Mike is a true professional. He’ll arrange the meeting with his dealer, take his portion of the drugs or a cash tip, and then give you the dealer’s number. No bullshit, no hidden fees, just the way I like it.

We pick up a kid named Kevin and head back to Middle-Man Mike’s parents’ house to wait for the coke man. Surprisingly he shows up on time and introduces himself as Brandon. I can’t help but stare as the duffel bag of drugs he’s brought in with him. There must be at least a pound of weed in there, along with a bunch of shatter and a couple of ounces of coke. He offers to sell me a half ball of coke for $70, and I accept. Two more kids come and go to pick up from Brandon before he gives me his number and takes off. “I gotta stop making plays in the house, good thing my Mom’s asleep!” Middle-Man Mike whispers as Kevin and I follow him upstairs to his bedroom.

Upstairs, Middle-Man Mike puts Blue Mountain State on Netflix and pulls a plastic Walgreen’s bag out from under his bed. He pulls out a spoon and a fresh syringe and I instantly become jealous. “You can put my share on that piece of paper.” He says, pointing to a “Keeping your kids off drugs” pamphlet that sits on a table littered with drug paraphernalia. I give him a generous chunk of coke and begin to cut myself a line on my smart phone. Middle-Man Mike eagerly undoes his belt and wraps it around his bicep, flexing until the big vein on his forearm makes its presence known. I can’t help but stare as he mixes up his shot of coke. God damn needle fetish, I swear it’ll haunt me for the rest of my fucking life. My breathing gets heavy as I watch the barrel of the rig flush with blood and the plunger slowly pump Middle-Man Mike’s vein with some of that Paris Hilton. Hnnnngggg…. I might as well be watching porn. The needle craving is like being horny or thirsty or hungry, maybe even worse. Middle-Man Mike quickly takes his belt off his arm as a giddy but tense smile creeps across his face. I wanna ask him for a clean spike, but I resist as I look down at the scars on my forearm from my last IV coke binge. “Just snort it you junky fuck, you know what’ll happen if you start banging that shit again.” My conscience barks at me. I listen, albeit reluctantly.

The coke is good, really good. Middle-Man Mike gives me a valium in exchange for another shot. I am now happy as a pig in shit since I won’t have to endure the early morning post-coke comedown in which I drink myself to sleep while making empty promises to myself about how I need to change. Kevin tells us he’s going over to his friend Jorge’s house to chill, and invites Middle-Man Mike and I to join him. I take a moment to ponder my options. I can go home and sniff coke by myself, say some regrettable things to strangers on the internet, and make several fruitless attempts at masturbation. Or I can accompany Kevin and Middle-Man Mike to Jorge’s where there are other human beings. We can snort coke and talk at one another about how we need to “grow up and get our shit together” and how we can “do coke here and there, because at least we aren’t shooting dope.” That sounds splendid. We all get into Kevin’s car and head out.

“Nas is the best rapper ever. What do you think about that?” Kevin asks Middle-Man Mike as we drive. Middle-Man Mike shrugs. “I don’t really listen to Nas.” I’m highly tempted to interject and politely inform Kevin that while highly influential, Nas’ body of work is wildly inconsistent, and while he is a gifted lyricist, his beat selection skills leave much to be desired. Takeover was better than Ether, and The Black Album is better than anything Nas ever wrote, even Illmatic. But I know better than to start a debate when Cocaine is involved. Not to mention the fact that I’ve hardly known Kevin for two hours and he’s already told me several stories about him being arrested for a plethora of charges, one of which was assault with a deadly weapon. His two missing teeth seem imply that he isn’t full of shit, and not someone I’d want to antagonize. “Dude, listen to this song, he raps as a gun in this one.” He says. The valium is burning a hole in my pocket. I know I’m supposed to save it for the comedown, but I rarely get to indulge in benzos, and I’m anxious about meeting new people. I’ll gladly stick a needle full of dirty cotton water into my veins, but God forbid I branch out and meet some new fucking people. Ugh. I disgust me.

I break the valium in half and pop the smaller chunk, promising myself to save the larger half for the end of the night. Kevin threatens to play some J. Cole after this Nas song. Nas isn’t bad, but I’m coked up and in no mood for him and his “lyrical wizardry.” I wanna hear some ignorant shit. We stop at Kevin’s house to pick up some beer since all the liquor stores are closed. When he gets out of the car, Middle-Man Mike heroically hijacks the auxiliary cord to Kevin’s stereo and puts on some Kevin Gates.

I was tryina get it how I live…

I want them dead presidents…

I wanna pull up…

Heads spin! 

Get-it-get-fly, I got six jobs, I don’t get tired! 

The bass in Kevin’s car is so loud it almost knocks the coke off my car key. I greedily sniff it up before it falls. Fuck yeah, I love this song. As my old heroin dealer Slim used to say, “Listen to my man Gates talk to these niggas, bruh.” The valium/coke combo is lovely, why don’t I do it more often? Kevin and Middle-Man Mike are trading war stories in the front seat. “…That kid Brandon, though, he gets liquid acid. Real acid too, not that fake shit. I’ll do the fake shit, I don’t care, but I hate when people don’t tell you it’s fake. If you sell me fake acid and tell me it’s real, I’m punching you in the fucking face.” I hear Middle-Man Mike say with coked-up confidence. I am glad that Middle-Man Mike seems to have forgotten that I knowingly sold him fake acid as real acid on several occasions.

We arrive at Jorge’s and I’m introduced to him, Jessica, and Tom. Everyone is sniffing coke, their own coke, which makes me very happy since I won’t have to share mine. Jessica is a heavyset Hispanic chick with big tits. Cocaine and fat girls, two of my favorite things. I’ll never know why big girls get me going the way they do. I stopped trying to play armchair psychologist with myself years ago and just accepted it. I dump some coke out on their kitchen counter and do a few big lines while we shoot the shit.

Moments later I find out that Jessica is Jorge’s girlfriend. Fuck it, it’s not like my dick works anyway. I haven’t showered today and my jeans have tell-tale burn holes from nodding out with cigarettes lit. I do not look like an attractive mate by any stretch of the imagination. My eyes hurt from the ancient pair of contact lenses I’m wearing. I keep meaning to order new ones, but y’know, heroin….

Jorge and Jessica run out of coke. Middle-Man Mike calls Brandon and he comes over, once again bringing his duffel bag of fun out with him. Jorge is speechless as Brandon nonchalantly pulls out his big bag of coke and weighs out an 8-ball. “Are you an undercover?” He asks Brandon. At first we think he’s joking, but his coked-out paranoid stare says otherwise. “Nah, man… Are you?” Brandon asks, clearly sketched out as he lifts his shirt up. Seemingly satisfied with his answer, Jorge pulls out some cash. “You got change, man?” Brandon nods and pulls out one of the biggest knots of cash I’ve ever seen. There has to be at least five grand there. “Dude! You gotta be careful! God damn!” Jorge says as he gets his change. Brandon nods, leaves, and we all agree that robbing him would be quite a lucrative endeavor. Not that any of us would ever do something like that, of course.

Kevin is a solid dude. Troubled, sure, but solid. We sniff coke together while he tells me stories of being in jail, halfway houses, and even the psych ward. He generously feeds me cigarettes and beer and I debate asking him for advice regarding my upcoming court date. I try to push the thought out of my head, but it persists. Hearing Kevin’s trials and tribulations, most of which were brought on by heroin, scares me. As I listen to Kevin I can’t help but feel like I’m looking into the future, and the future looks rough. I try to tell myself I won’t get to that point, but I also said I’d never do heroin, so what does my word even mean at this point? “I gotta quit drinking, man. It always leads to me sniffing coke, doing stupid shit. Enough’s enough, time to grow up and quit fucking around.” Kevin says. I do drugs to avoid these kind of talks. Though I’m sure he doesn’t mean to, Kevin is reminding me of what a fuck-up I am, and how I’ve said the same thing so many times. To remedy this, I dump the rest of my coke out and shovel it into my face in four fat lines.

Too much coke. Heart is racing. Must concentrate on not dying. What time is it? 4:30?!?! Fuck. Time flies when you’re doing drugs. Oh shit, I have valium! I swallow the remains of the pill with a swig of beer and within 20 minutes my coke-induced anxiety and looming depression are replaced with complacent serenity. I could get used to these benzo things, too bad I don’t have a consistent connection for them.

At 6 AM Jorge kicks us out and Kevin drives me home. I stumble into my bedroom and collapse into bed. It occurs to me that I have $15 to last me ‘till payday. But that is a problem for future me. Future me is very resourceful, and I have faith that he will find a way to keep my gas tank and stomach full over the next five days. He won’t be happy about it, but he’ll find a way. He always does.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

My Time as a Scumbag NBOMe Dealer, Parts 1-3

You know those pieces of shit that sell research chemicals like 25i-NBOMe as LSD? The douchebags that put people’s lives in jeopardy simply to make some extra profit? Once upon a time, I was one of those people. It’s a period of my life that I look back on with a potent mixture of nostalgia and regret. I fucked over a lot of people. I made a lot of money and flimsy excuses to justify fucking over people. I’m not writing this story to brag or glamorize the shitty things I did during that time of my life; I just think the story makes for an interesting read. I hope you guys do too.
My first experience with 25i came when I, much like my future customers, bought some under the impression that it was LSD. My best friend Jack and I were unaware of the old saying: “If it’s bitter, it’s a spitter.” And assumed that the tongue-numbingly bitter taste of our tabs was a sign that they were super potent and soaked with LSD. Our trip never went south or became uncomfortable, but both of us noted how it felt different, almost “dirtier” than previous trips we’d had on legitimate LSD. The experience had me curious, and after a bit of research, I realized we had both been duped and that what we had taken wasn’t acid at all. I stopped picking up from the dealer that sold it to us and didn’t think much of it for a few months.
At this point in my life I was in my early 20’s, had dropped out of college, and was starting to get really into MDMA and psychedelics. Drugs were becoming an obsession, and I was always reading trip reports and people’s experiences with different substances I’d yet to try. Eventually all my “research” led me to checking out the darknet, out of morbid curiosity. While checking out the psychedelic listings on a particular market (that’s since been busted), I noticed one vendor with 25i-NBOMe blotters for sale. It piqued my interest, since he had hundreds of satisfied customers in his feedback section that were buying hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of hits from him at a time. “Why the fuck would you bother with buying 25i from the darknet when you could get some of the cleanest LSD in the world from the exact same place?” I thought to myself.
I started converting the vendor’s prices in bitcoin to actual US dollars and couldn’t believe my eyes. This dude was selling sheets (or 100 hits) of 25i for $40 a pop! I suddenly found myself faced with an opportunity to make some very easy money. I wish I could say that I spent days on end debating the morality of what I was about to do, but that would be lying. I decided I’d order a sheet and put it out there to my circle of “drug friends” and see if they liked it, and more importantly, if they were informed enough to know it wasn’t the real deal.
Five business days later my envelope full of fake acid arrived without a hitch. I was admittedly nervous about my first darknet drug order, but the beauty of 25i (or any drug dosed on blotters for that matter) was that it came on paper and could be easily concealed in an envelope. In my area, acid typically went for $10 a single hit, five for $40, and ten for $80. I only needed to sell five hits to make my initial investment back, the other 95 would be pure profit. I went into work and quickly informed all of my druggie co-workers that I had some fire tabs on deck. Lucky for me it was also payday, and by the end of my shift that night I had sold four “strips” (ten hits) of nBOME and made $280 without even moving half of my supply. I had made more than half of a week’s paycheck by doing next to nothing. “I could get used to this…”
That following weekend I got a lot of phone calls. The reviews were in, and people were loving this shit. I moved the rest of the sheet in that same weekend, and still had people calling me for more. In just a few days I had turned $40 into over $800, and not a single person was dissatisfied with the product. Naturally, I ordered another sheet, but ran into a somewhat unexpected problem: I had saturated the market, so to speak.
Psychedelics aren’t something you can do every day, since tolerance to them builds so quickly. When I ordered my second sheet, I was able to sell half of it before business became stagnant. Everyone had sampled the product, tripped their balls off, and was satisfied. I was desperate to keep the party going, and wracked my brain for possible solutions. I scrolled through my phone contacts, hoping there was one name I’d missed that would want to take the rest of my product off my hands. Sure enough, there was one name I’d overlooked. It was Anthony, the kid that had sold me my very first dose of 25i as LSD a few months prior. I hit him up, telling him I had some tabs and would sell him my remaining 50 hits for $250. Thus began my career as a wholesale distributor of 25i…
When I sold off the rest of my shit to Anthony I was a bit worried that he was playing the exact same game I was and would call me on my bullshit when he tasted the tabs for himself. Lucky for me, he wasn’t. Anthony was still under the impression that the bitterness of the tabs were a sign of high potency, and was highly satisfied with the product. I brought in another two sheets, one to sell wholesale (for $400), and another to sell in smaller quantities. Anthony bought a sheet from me as soon as it landed in my mailbox. I knew that eventually Anthony would run into the same problem I did and run out of people to sell the shit too, and I’d be right back at square one. I was desperate to find someone who could get rid of the stuff consistently, and eventually, I found just the guy.
One Saturday night I got a call from Pat, one of my co-workers, looking to grab a half strip. Pat was a heroin addict but a surprisingly functional one, the only times I ever saw him use were to stay well, and any time I sold to him he always came correct. He had a few side-hustles to afford his habit, though, one of which was letting people stay at his place in exchange for cash or drugs. “Welcome to the heroin holiday inn.” He said, jokingly, when I arrived at his house. He led me into the living room, and I had a seat on the couch. The place looked like a trap house, with drug paraphernalia, cigarette butts, and empty beer and liquor bottles strewn all over the place. Sitting on the couch across from me weighing out a gram of MDMA crystals was a skinny, strung-out looking kid. “This is my new roommate Max.” Pat said as we made our deal. I watched Max put a gram of MDMA into a piece of toilet paper, fold it up, and swallow it casually. “What’s good, dude?” He asked, extending his hand. I dapped him up, trying not to stare after watching him take such a heroic dose of Molly. Pat unwrapped his strip and put two hits on his tongue. “Yo, this is the kid with the acid, by the way.” He said to Max as he cringed from the bitter taste. “No shit?! You’re the one with the fire doses?” Max asked, excitedly. “Yup, that’s me!” I replied with a shit-eating grin. We quickly began to talk business.
Working with Max was an exercise in frustration. It wasn’t long before I realized that his brain had been severely fried from years of drug use. Max was a career criminal, and I don’t think he’d ever held a real job in his life. He wasn’t shy at all about his incredibly lengthy rap sheet or his open case where he faced seven years for being caught in an undercover sting operation with mushrooms, vials of LSD, suboxone, and MDMA. Within just a few meetings with him I knew all about his criminal history, and I attributed his openness with his daily MDMA use. To this day, Max is the only person I’ve ever met who rolled on a daily basis, consuming grams of the stuff at a time, I even saw him inject it on more than one occasion. Despite the fact that he was a complete spunion and future jailbird, he was incredibly well-connected and bought sheets of 25i from me at a time. Unfortunately he’d end up eating a lot of it himself, and was always coming up short with cash or trying to give me MDMA and cash as payment rather than cash up front. I’d always end up getting my money eventually, but you can see how working with him would get seriously annoying after a while. I had no choice but to put up with his bullshit if I wanted the money to keep coming in, though.
As Max’s court date grew closer and closer I tried my hardest to get him to set me up with some new clientele. He knew damn well he was going to jail, and I figured he’d hook me up with some numbers if I gave him some cash for his family to put on his books when he went inside. Something wasn’t right, though, and Max was reluctant to set me up with anybody. One night, just a few days before he was set to go to court, I got a call from him. He sounded even more fucked up than usual, and called me from a new number. He told me he had fled to a neighboring state, a state known for its massive rave scene, where he could get rid of even more product than before. He said he was sending someone back home soon, and wanted to grab ten sheets from me. I told him ten sheets would run him four grand, and that I could have them for him within five days. He eagerly accepted the price and said he’d have the money for me up front, no bullshit, and to let him know as soon as I got my hands on them. I agreed and hung up the phone, barely able to contain my excitement.
The next day I was smoking a blunt with my friend Jack when I told him the news of my next deal. “Dude, it’s not even fair, how the fuck are you getting away with this?” He asked me, laughing. I had no idea. I had entered the drug game using cheat codes, and somehow had yet to be caught. But as the blunt grew shorter and shorter I began to get paranoid. I analyzed the deal, the situation, the call from Max, and I realized something didn’t quite add up. My ten-sheet order was already on the way, but suddenly, I felt uneasy about the entire thing. Max, a full time drug dealer, could hardly scratch together $400 to buy a single sheet from me, but now he suddenly has the cash to buy ten sheets up front? Just as he’s gone on the run from a seven year bid?
“Is this kid trying to set me up?!”
To be continued….

PART II: 

I told Jack my suspicions, and he begged me to cut ties with Max for good. He seemed just as convinced as I was that I was walking into a trap. My ten sheets came in but I didn’t respond to Max’s constant phone calls and text messages, which grew more frequent and frantic with each passing day. As time went by and I reflected on the situation while sober, I began to second-guess myself. “You were just high and paranoid. You’re turning down four fucking grand, who else is gonna buy those ten sheets from you? You’re being a fucking idiot.” I never gave in, though, and after a few days, the calls and texts from Max stopped completely. I was happy to be out of jail, but was faced with the reality that my time as an NBOMe distributor had come to an abrupt end.
Out of the blue, a few days later, I got a call from Dylan, a friend of Pat’s that I’d met a few times while selling and partying at his place. Dylan apparently had a friend that was looking for two sheets. “This kid is gonna keep coming back, trust me, and he can get you just about anything you could ever want.” Dylan promised me. “You throw me a little finder’s fee and I can set the deal up tonight.” I was already making an absurd amount of profit, so I was happy to throw Dylan $50 for setting me up with some desperately needed clientele. Dylan picked me up from work that night and we headed to the kid’s house.
Mark, my newest customer, was a few years older than me. We started shooting the shit with one another when he suddenly got a call on his phone. “What’s good? Yeah, I got you. Where you at? Alright, come through. Max’ll be here in ten minutes, tops.” He said as he hung up his burner phone. “Whoa, whoa, whoa, Max?! Max (insert last name here)?!” I asked in disbelief. Mark nodded. “Is that a problem?” He asked, puzzled. “Yeah it’s a problem. I’m not dealing with that kid at all, period. I don’t wanna see him, I don’t want him to know this shit’s coming from me, I fuckin’ hate that kid.” Mark shrugged and nodded in agreement. “I feel you man, I feel you. Kid does bad business. I’ll have him meet me down the street, you can wait in Dylan’s car if you want, you guys won’t see each other, I don’t wanna get mixed up in whatever shit you guys got going on.” I was glad that we were both on the same page with Max, and I patiently waited in Dylan’s car while Mark went to meet him, made the deal, and returned with my money. “Here’s your money, just so you know, I don’t work like Max. At all. I worked with him for a while getting him Molly and shit, and I know how much of a pain in the ass he can be with money. What I did tonight was really just a favor. He says your shit’s fire, though, and I’m definitely gonna be hitting you up for another couple sheets in the next few days, if you can get ‘em.” I nodded and dapped him up. “I got you, man.” I said as Dylan started the car.
“You’re gonna love working with Mark, dude, he’s like a fuckin’ one stop shop. Coke, Molly, bud, he’s got all the shit you’re into. He doesn’t fuck around like Max, either.” Dylan said to me as we drove back to my place. I nodded. “He does trades, too, you know.” That piqued my interest. “What do you mean?” “Like, say you wanted to pick up some Molly off him, you could just trade him a couple sheets and he’d give you an ounce or whatever. Could make things cheaper for you, you know? I dunno what you’re paying for sheets, just throwing it out there.” I could barely keep my eyes in my skull and my jaw off the floor as the possibilities to expand my business swirled around my head. “Hm. That’s good to know. I’d have to see if it’d be worth it on my end, but it’s good to know.”
A few days later I went to a music festival with two of my friends that became a bender of epic proportions. While I was away, a local drug task force raided Mark’s house, finding Molly, coke, weed, and some miscellaneous pills. He was released on his own recognizance, but was evicted from his home and living out of hotels. Mark was Max’s Molly connection, and wouldn’t you know, Max had coincidentally dropped off the face of the earth. It wasn’t hard to connect the dots from there. I had dodged a bullet, but I felt bad that the shit had come down on Mark the way it did. Well, that’s not completely true. I really felt bad because my new connection was out of business before I got to see my plans through. I decided to front him a couple of sheets to help him get back on his feet, as a gesture of good faith. I was a bit worried that he’d just fuck me over, take the sheets, and sever ties with me completely. But if that did happen, I’d only be out $80, and let’s be real… I kinda had it coming at that point.
Mark stayed true to his word, though, and had my $800 for me within a few days. It wasn’t long before he established a line of credit with me and started flipping sheets for me consistently. Within a few weeks he had a new place to live and was hustling just as much as before. When I heard that he once again had Molly, I decided to take him up on one of his “trades” Dylan told me about. I was going to a show at a local club that weekend, a club that had notoriously lax security. Naturally I wanted to roll at the show, and hopefully make some money while I was at it. I hit Mark up and crossed my fingers.
“Hey man, I’m looking for a quarter ounce of Molly if you got it.”
“Yup, I got you.”
“Cool. I was wondering though, if you’d wanna do a trade for it. How many tabs would you want for that?”
“I’d be down with that. I could do that for like a quarter sheet.”
I eagerly accepted Mark’s offer and was beaming with joy as I did the math out. A quarter sheet would cost me about $10, which I would trade for seven grams of MDMA, which I could then sell for $80 a pop. I planned to keep a gram for myself and my friend, but I could still get $480 for the remaining six if I sold them all. Not bad for a ten dollar investment. Not bad at all.
I had been to the club once before and had a general feel for how security worked, but I was still pretty nervous as I waited in line to get in. A bag of pre-weighed grams and half grams of MDMA was stuffed firmly against my crotch just in case they were doing pat-downs that night. Thankfully they weren’t, and simply checked my ID before letting Jack and I inside. The place was fucking beautiful. It was a massive outdoor club right on the water with a beach theme, where you could get away with just about anything you wanted. There were cabanas and tables all over the place where one could sit down and make potential drug deals. People smoked blunts in plain view of security, and everyone seemed to be rolling their absolute balls off. Jack and I quickly joined them and I began to scope out potential customers.
Even though the bouncers seemed incredibly apathetic and I was rolling pretty hard, I was still intimidated by the concept of walking up to strangers and selling to them. Jack picked up on this and offered to help. It seemed that he was sick of seeing me rake in all this cash, and wanted to get in on my little operation. “Let me keep half of whatever we make tonight, and I’ll help you get rid of this shit.” He said to me with pupils the size of silver dollars. I sipped a drink and thought it over. “Alright man, you’re in.” I stealthily handed him the bag of Molly and watched him work his magic.
It turns out that Jack was quite the salesman. He moved all the Molly for me, and even helped fill my burner phone with a few new customers. As we walked back to the car it was agreed that we’d be back at the club the following weekend. Jack mentioned to me that his only problem with selling the Molly was doing it by the gram and half gram. He said that people were more likely to buy it if it was in $20 capsules. I took his advice and got myself some empty gel caps from a health store. Once again I hit up Mark to do another trade, this time asking for a full ounce of Molly. He was happy to help, offering to do it for three sheets, or $120. I started referring to the sheets as “drug coupons” when I was with Jack or any of my other friends that were in on my little scheme. I remember going back to Jack’s place with the ounce to start breaking it down. I had never seen that much Molly before. It came in giant sized rocks that looked absolutely delicious, I almost didn’t want to break them down to put inside the capsules. We spent the day weighing out 200-milligram doses of Molly and putting them into capsules before hitting the club that night.
From then on, every Friday and Saturday night, we were permanent fixtures at the club. My clientele increased dramatically, and we’d sometimes move a full ounce in two days if a really big DJ was in town that night. I kept trading sheets for Molly, and Mark somehow kept getting rid of them. The club took notice of all the illegal activity going on there and eventually had a couple of cops stationed in different corners of the club every night. The place was way too big for them to patrol all that efficiently, though, and they seemed just as complacent as the bouncers were. To this day I wonder if them and the bouncers were getting bribed by someone else. I imagine that if they were, though, whoever that was bribing them would’ve dragged Jack and I out of the club and beaten the fuck out of us for stepping on their toes early on. We were incredibly lucky to have never gotten caught during our time there, especially given how fucked up and careless we got every night…
Before my career as a drug dealer/scam artist took off I had used MDMA pretty frequently. I still consider it among my all-time favorite drugs, though now I have a much better sense of respect for it than I did back then. Since I was getting the Molly for so unbelievably cheap, I never really had to worry about “getting high on my own supply” and cutting into my own profits. This led to me rolling my goddamn face off every. Single. Weekend. Jack was smarter about it and stuck to drinking whenever we were at the club for the most part, realizing the inherent danger in rolling two, sometimes three, nights a week. I tried to do the same thing, but I would always cave in when I saw everybody at the club with their massive pupils having the time of their lives. Oddly enough, I never reached the point many heavy users do where they “lose the magic” and the horrific side effects finally outweigh the appeal of the roll. Still, my use was taking a major toll on my health, and it was getting difficult to ignore.
The summer wore on and my tolerance skyrocketed. I vividly remember one of the last weekends I dealt at the club where I was pretty sure I was going to die. I had taken 400 milligrams of Molly right off the bat to get the night started, then started drinking my crown and coke. The come up felt more swift than usual and I didn’t like how quickly my heart was beating. I chugged my drink and ordered two shots of crown at the bar. This calmed me down a bit, but now I was pretty drunk, too drunk to really feel my roll anymore. So what did I do? I took another cap, of course! I was feeling my roll again, but obviously I was really fucking sped up, and became paranoid and anxious that I’d overdosed. I ran back to the bar and got more whiskey to calm down with. I repeated this cycle of unprecedented stupidity until I had consumed 1.2 grams of Molly in just a few hours, on top of tons of whiskey. I woke up the next morning with severe chest pains and could barely get out of bed and make it to the bathroom to get the water I desperately needed. I spent many a morning crawling and panting to the bathroom, gulping down water and puking it back up, fading in and out of consciousness, and seriously wondering if I was gonna die right there on the floor. Served me right, I guess.
You’d think my close calls with death would get me to slow my roll (LOL), but I still kept at it. I was in heavy denial about my use and severe depression since I was “living the good life!” and the money kept pouring in. The summer was coming to a close, though, and soon all the college kids that packed out the club would be heading back into the city to go to school. The club only had a few more weekends left in it anyway as the weather would inevitably change, so I figured I’d slow down then. At least, that’s what I told myself.
Unfortunately, the club was forced to shut its doors prematurely and permanently. A string of overdose deaths at “EDM shows” and a rash of bad press tore through the local rave scene, and the most notorious local clubs were the first to suffer for it. The clubs and venues that did stay open beefed up security big time, or stopped booking DJ’s altogether. I still had tons of contacts I made at the club that I could sell to, but it seemed that in a way, the party was once again over. To top it all off, I got a phone call from Mark that made my blood run cold.
“Hey man, what’s up?”
“Listen, I had your shit tested, I know it’s not LSD.”
Dun dun dun…

PART III:

I tried to keep from sounding nervous as I held the phone to my ear. “The fuck are you talking about? What is it then?” I asked, trying to play dumb. I knew this conversation would happen eventually, but I was still nervous as fuck. Was I finally gonna get the ass-kicking I deserved?
Apparently one of Mark’s customers had gotten caught with a couple of sheets on him. Obviously the cops had to have the shit tested before they could formally charge him with possession of LSD. Mark told me that they ran the tests and concluded it wasn’t LSD, but a research chemical that was unscheduled in my area. The cops couldn’t charge him and were forced to let the kid go, and even returned the sheets to him. Keep in mind that all this shit happened years ago, when 25i was still fairly “new”, at least in my area anyway. It had always been illegal under the analogue act, but laws regarding its legal status varied wildly between states. It’s been formally banned in my state for years now, but back then, it fell into a legal gray area I had no idea I was exploiting. As Mark told me all of this I noticed he didn’t sound all that pissed. “I don’t know if you knew or what, but I figured I’d give you the heads up.” He told me. I continued to play dumb. “I don’t get it, though… If it’s not LSD, what is it?” I wondered just how much he knew at that point, and if the jig was truly up for me. “I asked the kid, and he said he didn’t remember. He was so pumped to get out of jail he didn’t pay attention to what the cops said.” I paused for a moment before I made my next move. “Well, fuck. I don’t know, I guess my connect has some fuckin’ explaining to do. Thanks for the heads up, just wish I knew before I re-upped, I don’t know what to do with this shit now, you know?” “We can keep doing business if you want. I got a fuckin’ open case, and now that I know the shit’s legal, it’s almost better than selling the real thing. People like it, I’ve had no complaints so far, I just wanted to call you and let you know what’s good.” My sphincter finally returned to its natural relaxed state as I wiped the sweat off my face. “Alright man, I’ll talk to my boy anyway and see what he knows, I’m curious about this shit. Thanks again.”
I was pretty psyched to learn of the arguable legality of what I was doing, but it also made me even more nervous and paranoid. I couldn’t imagine the cops being very happy about catching a guy with a felony-level quantity of a new synthetic drug and being forced to let them go. I assumed that 25i was officially on their radar, but it still wasn’t enough for me to stop. After all the dumb luck and dodged bullets, I still didn’t have the common sense to say enough was enough and get out of the game. I tried to move my MDMA business into the city at different clubs, but they were not having it. The game was changing, and the entire scene suffered for it. As someone who was a part of it before I became an RC-slinging sack of dog shit, I began to feel responsible. Slowly but surely, remorse and reality began to seep through the thick layers of denial in my head…
On one of the last weekends of that summer Jack and I went to see one of our favorite bands. We got a few beers in us and decided to try our luck at finding some acid. “Let’s hope I don’t get a taste of my own medicine.” I joked to him as we walked around approaching groups of likely candidates. Surprisingly, we were able to find a guy within minutes and bought a ten strip. When I saw the un-perforated, plain white paper with thin pencil lines dividing the doses, I was reassured that they weren’t mine and likely the real thing. We both were feeling adventurous and pretty buzzed at that point, so we decided to drop three tabs each. I was relieved as I placed them on my tongue and didn’t taste a thing.
Prior to that night I had never had a bad or difficult experience with psychedelics. I had taken similar doses of true LSD in the past and handled it just fine, same with mushrooms and a few other RC’s. Much of what happened that night had to be told to me second hand by Jack, as I blacked out for most of it. Apparently I was fine for the whole show, and was smiling and enjoying myself without looking weird or doing anything stupid. When we headed back to the subway, though, shit started getting weird. Jack was tripping sack as well, but he handled it much better than I did, apparently. He was a block away from the venue when he realized I wasn’t following him, and he kept having to go back and remind me to keep following him. I wasn’t crying, or angry, or showing any real signs of having a “bad time”, it was more like I had just checked out mentally. Out of frustration Jack decided we’d take a cab the rest of the way to the train. We got inside and, apparently, I was having a conversation with someone that wasn’t there. I was saying shit like, “Wow, maybe, I’m really not sure…” Jack was really starting to get sketched out at this point, for obvious reasons. He helped me get to the train and we had a quiet ride back where I just kind of zoned out and didn’t really say anything.
I appeared calm and relatively normal on the train ride back, but inside my head things were much different. It was like I was watching a movie of my future play out inside my head. I was sitting in a dingy apartment, alone, bagging up coke while sampling the product myself and drinking straight from a bottle of cheap whiskey. I felt a sense of dread, loneliness, and regret as I watched it play out before me. Right as I shoveled another fat rail into my face, the door to my apartment blew open, and a drug task force stormed in. I got cuffed before the film abruptly ended. Just when I thought it was over, I found out I was in for a double feature. I saw myself at a train station, dirty and emaciated, with a backpack on and pulling another bag of luggage behind me. I was with someone else, I didn’t recognize them, but they seemed to know me very well. We were rushing to catch a train, to where I don’t know, when the wheels on my bag broke off. “FUCK!” I screamed as I heard a train approaching, presumably our train. I tried to keep dragging the suitcase but it was so heavy, and we missed our train. “Shit! What are we gonna do!? What are we gonna do!?” My unknown companion kept screaming over and over. I looked down at my arms, which I noticed were covered in track marks. Then, once again, my “vision” abruptly ended. I’ve never experienced anything like that on any psychedelic before, even after tripping several times since that night. By the time we reached our destination I was still tripping sack but had passed my peak and was once again able to form coherent thoughts and sentences. Jack filled me in on how much of a retard I was being on our way to the train, and I thanked him for making sure I didn’t get mugged or arrested. I wanted to chalk up the two “movies” I’d seen as the consequences of a heavy dose of acid and a very active imagination, but I really felt like there was something more to it. I interpreted both scenarios as two of the four ways my life could play out if I kept this shit up, the other two being death and incarceration.
It was getting a lot harder to block the voice of reason out of my head as time wore on. I was still making Molly plays but they obviously became much less frequent, and my paranoia was at an all-time high. I continued to roll every weekend, even if I wasn’t going out and partying, and drinking a lot in a desperate attempt to convince myself that everything was fine. I was losing weight, always depressed and anxious, and was eating 5-HTP pills like they were fucking M&M’s during the week. I had a seemingly permanent cold from using so much MDMA, where my chest and nose were always congested and I was constantly blowing my nose and clearing my throat. It was bizarre to me since I never snorted the stuff, only ate it, but it was abundantly clear that I needed to stop. Jack and I had a lot of tense conversations about it. Somehow I never lost the magic, though, and always went running back.
Some of you might be wondering if I managed to keep that dead end job I mentioned in part one throughout all of this chaos. The answer is yes, but barely. My work ethic was pretty much non-existent before I started dealing, so you can imagine how badly things started slipping once the easy money started coming in. It’s kind of difficult to justify working for $8 an hour when you’re used to making $800 in ten minutes. I was calling in sick a lot, and obviously not working with a clear head, but somehow I managed to keep up appearances just enough not to get fired. It was the kind of workplace where most people were on drugs anyway, so I was able to get away with a lot more than I would in a more professional environment.
They say in AA and NA that when you give up one addiction you should replace it with another. At least I think that’s what they say. I decided to take a page out of the big book and started using cocaine instead of MDMA on the weekends. I had fucked with coke a few times while clubbing when people would offer it to me, but I was always rolling face and thus didn’t feel it as much. When I got to try it by itself I really started to like it, and since Mark got good shit, I was able to trade a couple strips of nBOME for coke and get 8-balls for remarkably cheap. I debated selling the stuff for a while but ultimately realized that I’d end up sniffing it all and probably wouldn’t even break even.
I made one final trade with Mark before he got sentenced, picking up an ounce and a half of Molly before he was locked up for two years. My Molly business had come to a near complete stop and I knew I’d be sitting on the shit for a while. I didn’t know anybody that would buy 25i off me, and all I really had left were petty weed sales to keep money coming in. It wasn’t a huge deal since I had so much money saved and knew I’d move the Molly eventually, but I found myself at a cross roads. If I wanted to keep doing coke I would now have to pay for it with actual money. I thought about using the cash I saved up to start going slightly more legit, maybe invest in some actual LSD and accept the decrease in profits just to keep the money coming in. But I was known as “acid guy” at that point, and asking around my circle for tabs would only blow my cover, if I even had any left…
Desperate, I put the word out that I was slashing prices. I talked to people at work, advertising a new special, two sheets for $500. I’d casually mention shit to them like, “You flip that strip by strip, you’re making eleven hundred in profit. You’ve tried the shit before, you know it’s good, just throwing it out there.” I got a couple of people to bite, and a few “friends of friends” that eventually became clientele. I had an idea that some people were beginning to suspect the legitimacy of the product, but the prices were so low and I was making them so much money that they never brought it up to me. For a few months, business really started to pick up again.
I kept doing coke every weekend throughout all this, since I could afford it. You’d think I’d spend some of my ill-gotten gains on a nice car, fancier clothes, or a really ignorant gold chain, but I really never flaunted my wealth much at all. I got myself a few nice shirts and upgraded my wardrobe a bit, but other than that, I really wasn’t flashy about the money I was making. As long as I could afford drugs and concert tickets I was content. All I needed in life was enough cocaine, whiskey, and smokes to convince myself that I wouldn’t end up like the people around me and that I was smarter than everyone else. But I wasn’t. And I realized that quickly.
When you’re pumping the streets with such large quantities of research chemicals, it’s mathematically guaranteed that someone’s gonna have a bad time at some point. I’m incredibly lucky that my selfishness and greed never led to anyone’s injury or death, otherwise I’d probably be relaying my story to some journalist through glass right now. But that doesn’t mean that everyone who tried my product came away as a satisfied customer. Complaints about the tabs slowly rose up the chain of command, and I inevitably found myself with some serious explaining to do. “People are saying this shit isn’t real, man. The fuck is going on?” One client asked me. I played dumb with him just as I did Mark, and we ended our business relationship amicably. Needless to say, I got off cheap.
Down to one major customer, I was beginning to realize that my reputation was essentially burned in the drug game. People were wising up, using the same phone they used to call me to google why their “LSD” tasted so fucking bad and gave such an intense and dirty trip. I was like Tony Montana, stuffing my face with coke, refusing to surrender as reality descended upon my mansion built on toothpicks. My back was against the wall, and somehow, I think my last client picked up on it. He was consistent enough where I would front him sheets at a time, and I trusted him to bring my money back. One day he grabbed 8 of them off me, promising me he had a big play “out of state”, and then stopped answering my calls altogether. I never heard from him again.
Things only got worse from there. I read an article in the local paper about a “new drug” called “n-bomb” and took it as the final nail in the coffin. I was sitting on two sheets when the article came to print, and I knew it was only a matter of time before a formal ban was finally enacted on the stuff. I had made a new weed connect that I didn’t really care about burning and unloaded my last two sheets to him. Less than a month later, 25i was banned, and the party really was over this time.
I coasted off Molly and weed plays for a little while, but my cocaine use slowly began to chip away at my savings. Most of my Molly clientele was comprised of college kids, who stopped hitting me up altogether once they’d graduated. All my friends graduated too and stopped partying, and reality hit me like a freight train. I had pissed away two years of my life fucking around and doing drugs, while barely maintaining at a job that would take me nowhere. This realization, combined with all my MDMA and coke use, left me severely depressed. I was in my mid-20’s and found myself an old man, reminiscing on the past like fucking Al Bundy. My friends had careers and their whole lives ahead of them, and there I was, a coke addicted burnout who couldn’t handle the fact that the party had been over for months now. Served me right, I guess.
The thing that makes me laugh about this era of my life is how determined I was not to live the drug dealer cliché and still ended up living it to a tee. “You’re gonna make your money, do what you gotta do, and get out. You’re not gonna get caught up in that shit, you’re smarter than that, you’re better than that.” LOL. Rather than using all the cash I had saved up on something constructive that could help me in the future, I blew it all on festival tickets, concerts, and of course, drugs. I was making decent money selling weed since I never smoked my stash, but it was not nearly enough to satiate the lifestyle I’d grown used to. I was used to having one door close and another open at that point, but as time wore on, I began to realize I was finally out of second chances…
When I finally ran out of money and was right back to square one I was devastated. I felt like I had just woken up from a long, incredibly vivid, dream, and couldn’t come to grips with the fact that it was truly over. I no longer had stacks of cash to throw at my problems, and had to face them head-on. I had lived in the fast lane for years while simultaneously going nowhere. I was right back to where I was a few years before, except now I had a pretty serious drug habit. I started fucking with even harder shit to ease the pain, which obviously didn’t make things much better. Karma’s a bitch, I guess.
I still work at that same dead-end job. I make a bit of cash here and there doing freelance writing gigs, but I’m still barely scraping by. I take this as penance from all the pain and douchebaggery I inflicted on people, but I really do want to hone my craft as a writer and hopefully get paid for it one day. I appreciate you all reading my stories and offering feedback, whether it’s positive or negative.
Thank you for reading.