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.