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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...

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Terry

“Thanks brotha.” I say to Terry as I leave the checkout line at the pharmacy. “Come back any time.” He replies with a shit-eating grin. I shouldn’t talk shit about Terry. The kid means well, and he hooks me up way more than any reasonable person should. I used to work with Terry at this very pharmacy, that is until they shit-canned me for banging in one too many times. I can’t say I blame them. I’d fire me too if I was them. Why pay a 25 year old drug addict $12 an hour to stock shelves when you could pay some 16 year old to do the same shit for less money? The fact that I was prone to abandoning my workload at random to go shoot up in the bathroom and stole just about anything I could stuff in my pockets probably didn’t help my case either. But one thing I did do right during my brief career at Wilson’s pharmacy was forge an exploitable “friendship” with Terry, who at 19 years old was too naïve to draw the obvious conclusion that every one of my friends and family had drawn long ago: that I’m a fucking loser, a snake, and an all-around piece of shit that brings around far more trouble than I’m worth.

Terry had just dropped out of college when he started at Wilson’s just a few months before I got fired. I caught him smoking weed in his car one day while we were both on break. I was quick to let him know I was “cool” and quickly got a feel for what drugs he fucked with, what would sketch him out, and what I could “help him get.” He was still into party drugs, mostly ecstasy and psychedelics, sometimes I would help him score coke. Of course I’d factor in a “finder’s fee” to every order he gave me, unbeknownst to him. He never seemed to mind paying that extra bit, or if he did, he never had the balls to confront me on it. The shit I got was fire, but that hardly justified how much I fucked him over every time I middle-manned for him. I think he just thought it was cool to be chilling with an older dude like me, a dude with his own place, even if it was a complete shithole. He’d come by after work and get fucked up with me some nights and it’d all work out. I didn’t mind the company, to be honest. He’d depend on me to get alcohol too, and always tipped me way more than I deserved when I’d go to get him a bottle. Shit, half the time I’d be going to buy one myself anyway, what dope fiend is gonna say no to easy money like that? Not this one.

Unsurprisingly, as me and Terry got more friendly with one another, Terry’s work ethic began to suffer. It got to the point where our supervisor would schedule us opposite shifts: I’d work the day shift, obviously, since it allowed for someone to always be breathing down my neck and made shoplifting difficult. Terry would work the graveyard shift, 12-9 AM, which kept him from working with me. It also ensured that he’d actually show up for work, since his partying had gone through the roof since we met and scheduling him for the morning shift was always a roll of the dice. When I got fired, Terry would still hit me up every night he was working, essentially giving me the green light to come in and steal whatever I could possibly need, save for booze, cigarettes, and anything I couldn’t fit in my pockets. Wilson’s was just a few blocks away from my shitty apartment, so I jumped at the chance to further exploit them for free shit.

My eyes squint as I step out into the hot sun. The cheap vodka and pack of smokes in my hands came out to $20, but my pockets were stuffed with Imodium, candy, a pair of cheap sunglasses, and some generic Benadryl. I tear the tag off the sunglasses, put them on my nose, and they almost slide off instantly. It’s been roughly 24 hours since my last shot of dope, and I’ve got another 48 to go before I get paid and can get more. Within seconds my formerly white-t, now faded a dull yellow, is once again glued to my chest and back by cold sweat. There’s something about dope sweat that smells even worse than regular body odor, and feels even more disgusting… I’ve often wondered what kind of ungodly industrial-strength chemical shit they use to disinfect the beds at your average detox, or if they even bother trying…

I dump twelve Imodium tablets down my throat and wash them down with a swig of vodka before embarking on the grueling four-block journey back to my place. There was a time when taking a few of the anti-diarrhea pills would save me from the vast majority of withdrawal symptoms, but these days, it did little but keep me from puking and shitting at the drop of a dime. I can’t believe how much I’m fucking sweating. My heart is pounding in my chest, and the short walk feels like the Boston marathon as I trudge down the sidewalk. I get about halfway there before I’m forced to put the bottle down on the ground and catch my breath. I stand there, bent over, hands on my knees, panting helplessly as the summer sun beats down on my back. A few droplets fall on the pavement in front of me. Is it really fucking raining right now? Nope, just more sweat. So much goddamn sweat…
I’m so sick and exhausted that I don’t even hear the rusty shitbox pulling up next to me. A familiar voice calls out of the driver’s side window. “You alright, brother?” I whip my head around and stand up straight, not believing it at first. But it’s him: Joey the dope man. I know damn well that he doesn’t do fronts, and that there isn’t a sob story I can tell him to get him to change his mind, but I’m desperate. Everyone always said he looked like Jesus, with his long black hair, beard, and slim figure. Joey was a pretty passive, hippie type, that sold just enough to keep his gas tank filled and his own habit fed. Maybe he’d take pity on me today…

“You want a ride to your place?” He asks me, and I jump at the chance. He looks upon me with what seems like genuine pity as I squirm, sniffle, and sweat all over his passenger seat. “You don’t look too good, brother.” He says as we turn into my driveway. “Yeah, well, I don’t get paid till Thursday, so… I’m kinda fucked…” I mumble back as I reach for the door handle. “Wait a second… You got fresh spikes in there?” He asks me. My eyes pop open. “Yeah, why?” “Tell you what… You let me fix at your place real quick, and I’ll break you off a little something. Get you feeling like your old self again, how’s that sound?” This never happens, but I dare not question it. “Absolutely man, follow me.”

I let Joey into my bare-bones apartment and we both sit down on the couch. Joey wastes no time pulling out the dope while I prep two cookers with water and tear two pieces of cotton from a Q-tip. Joey dumped a fat shot into my cooker, and I practically salivated at the sight of it. “That oughta get you where you’re going…” He said with a smile as he prepared his shot. It would all be over soon. I just need to grab the rigs. I go into my bedroom and open my nightstand drawer, and… They’re not there! But they’re always there! There’s no way… No. I’m just really sick, I’m not thinking straight. I put them in my dresser drawer instead… Nope! Not there, either! This isn’t happening right now… “You good man, or what?” Joey calls out from the living room.

“WHERE THE FUCK ARE MY RIGS?!”

Suddenly I jolt awake in my bed, my heart pounding, laying in a pool of sweat. My legs immediately start kicking again, almost beyond my control. I kick off my blanket to cool off. Too cold now, I try to put it back on, but it’s soaked, as is my mattress and pillow. I look at my clock. It’s 6:45 AM, 24 hours since my last shot, and I’ve slept a record 20 minutes. I still need to go to the pharmacy. Fuck. Terry better be working today.

2 comments:

  1. Love all your stories dude, reading this one for like the 5th time, the genuine horror I felt for you when you couldn't find the rigs, damn

    ReplyDelete