I was nicknamed Crazy Gringo or Eng-land by the dealers and neighborhood junkies who sat on stoops watching the block. They’d thought I was Hispanic but when I couldn’t respond in the broken New York-Puerto Rico tongue they spoke I’d told everyone I was from London England. One of the guys asked me where that was and if they spoke a different language there. I had made a few street friends well, as close as you want to get to these hardcore hustler slice you in a second dope fiends, they’d looked after me. Don’t think these streets are just a bunch of benevolent junkies waiting to treat some white girl with love. I slipped a few bags here and there for the privilege of being allowed to hide in apartments during raids, or allowed into broken down zombie filled shooting galleries.
I wasn’t crazy, I never did anything remotely crazy by the street standards of crazy I was a door mouse. They found me amusing. The balls of some white girl strolling around these dangerous streets amused them, and the regular daily dealers flirted with me just a little game, and levity in a gloomy paranoid barely making it existence.
I’d taken to looking to the moon or sun, wondering what was going on in London my hometown, and my parent’s five-bedroom palatial house in Chelsea. The same sun and moon shone over them that shone over my shadowy life.
Tonight the sky had been cut with a blade and a hairs wisp of light shone through the black overhead, another moon, and another night in the endless tick of the clock called life.
I made my way to Second Street and Avenue A and immediately got a churning in my gut. The anticipation while going to get my dope was so highly charged I got a strange high out of walking to get the drugs, as much as the ritual of cooking up the prep work the mixing, the needles, all are a part of the high.
I could sense that dope was being sold. There is no mistaking that buzz. The shadows move in a distinctive manner, crossing the streets zig zagging from each side disappearing into doorways, flickers of lighters between cars where the crack heads sucked on their glass sticks. Everyone had the same walk, shoulders hunched hands deep in pockets head down, a fast walk never a run or jog just the fastest walk.
I stood in a short line while Blackie stood on a milk crate next to the dope door keeping watch over the line allowing two people in at a time.
Silence, tension we are so close, so close to the oxygen in which we desperately need to survive, to breathe. I can guarantee everyone’s ass cheeks tightened, holding back the bowel movement that seems to always cramp my gut when so close to the dope man. People swayed nervously stretching their heads towards the door, the gates to hell, yet we are paying any amount to get through the gate to the prize, a piece of the poison pie.
Dear god give me a taste of hell a little lick so I know what bliss and poison taste like.
We all have the best of intentions in our hearts in our souls. Most of the hard-core dope fiends I’ve ever met are good people driven to the con, driven to living a life of stealing and lying. Deception is all part of the life. I lie to everyone; I’ll take anyone’s last ten bucks if I need it. Why? You ask, because the devil has gained access to my blood stream and I like it and now I need it. I can’t do what a so-called normal rational non drug user would do. I’m not human any longer I am a shadow person. Some one who shuns society and society shuns me.
The man in front of me hopped from foot to foot, so did I; we looked like a line of five year olds waiting for the toilet.
“Yo Papi wat takin’ so long, Huh? I gots my baby at home alone I gotta get back to my baby Papi you hear me…” a young Hispanic man pleaded and talked to no one in particular. A couple arms around each others shoulders wiping their nose on the sleeves of their over sized men’s coats.
“Yo Eng-land wats up Mami you ok?” Blackie opened the door.
“I’m good, I’m good baby.” I skipped into the hallway and down the long familiar hall where JR stood by the stairs, a short stocky Puerto Rican man with a fanny pack. One flight above him was another look out who sat armed with a little rusty 22.
“Yo girl wad up?”
“Nothing same old, two bundles twenty of C.” I smiled my sweetest smile. I looked at JR like he was Brad Fucking Pitt. He held the drugs; I would have gotten on my knees right there and blown him if I had to.
JR fiddled with a larger package of five bundles, oh sweet Jesus my mouth watered- he took two bundles out and handed them over then went into his fanny pack and pulled out a foil of coke, good coke shooting coke.
I turned and bid “see ya later,” and walked quickly, hop skip and a blissful float back down the hall Blackie opened the door to let me out.
“Have a good one, yo you be careful Eng-land 5-0 be out heavy.”
I crossed the street slipped in-between the wire cut fence and made it across a rubble-strewn lot down three old brick stairs to a basement. I kicked the door four times. This block is great a one stop get high wonderland. The door opened into darkness, a shadow with their head bowed stood holding the door while I entered. I saw flickers of lighters, damn crack heads, and a bare bulb hung in a corner where I spotted Flaco. I crouched next to him in the dim silence in a filthy corner strewn with needles and discarded drug paraphernalia, beer and soda cans and every bit of garbage imaginable.
I handed him three dollars. He smiled a mostly toothless grin that was so horrifying I wish he wouldn’t smile. His face had become skeletal with silly putty like skin stretched over his features. It’s the Virus that what it does to people these days it eats them from the inside out. We didn’t speak as he spoke little to no English. Flaco could usually hit a vein immediately; lately he’d been having more trouble with me as my veins sclerosed from the coke.
His filthy fingers tied my bicep with a piece of discarded rope. He rubbed my lower arm slapping where a vein should pop up, nothing. He tied the other, did the same, nothing. He lit a stub of a cigarette he had on the floor and shook his head “mudder fucka” the stub of the cigarette stuck into the corner of his mouth and puffed so I could no longer see his frightening features. He pointed to my jugular. “ “Nooo way dude, I can’t, come on Flaco please can’t you get me here” I offered both arms to him. He threw his head back and laughed, his eyes focused staring at my neck like a hungry vampire. He pointed to my groin. “Fuck nooooo.” he again burst into a cackling hyena laugh.
A beautiful one-time model Alisha who had joined us sat next to me with Flaco. She was wearing a flouncy flower printed dress with small spaghetti straps, and a gathered skirt. I knew it was a pricy designer dress. Alisha was five foot ten, and stunning. We’d met wondering the Lower east Side on the hunt, and as junkies occasionally do, we’d gathered in a group thinking someone might have a connection we could latch onto. I’d even gone up to her apartment where her five-year-old daughter had been sitting in a dusty grey room with a dozen teddy bears plucked from dumpsters to make it look like she had a regular pair of caring protectors. CPS had recently given the kid back to her and her junkie boyfriend, a huge mistake on the part of the city. It wasn’t the first time I witnessed children living in hell with their strung out homeless parents unprotected by the agencies put there to protect them. I had stared at this chubby sad child who sat on a chair staring at us all with scared eyes as we gathered in the kitchen to fix. What was I doing? Guilt swung at me but I was always able to push it aside, not my problem. My god had given up on my useless promises, lies, and demands, yet I still prayed.
Blessed be the child before me, and protect
Them from …life… this life, the life they be borned unto, into, Blessed be the child. God, are you even listening to me?….
Flaco gentle tilted my head to one side, Alisha told me to take a breath, she held a candle close to my neck so close I could feel the heat from the flame.” Careful you don’t catch my hair on that.” “No Mami.” She cupped the flame, Flaco fingered my fat jugular. He squeezed my neck as though he was about to strangle me; I swallowed with difficulty and fear and squeezed my knees and eyes shut. He tapped the new needle with ease into virgin unsclerosed skin, and I felt the plunger pump the bliss into my neck. Like Tinker Belle had tapped her magic wand everything became pure. Warmth seeped through my body. Relief. Relief from the horrors that this world had created.
The tick tock clock and moon stopped dead, everything halted as I fell backwards sitting amongst the filth I had been squatting in. I was really high. That was good stuff. I had trouble keeping my eyes open. Flaco hit me up for a bag and I just gave him one. He spoke in Spanish to Alisha who said Jugs cost more because it’s dangerous and if I OD'ed he’d have to bring me around…. I didn’t even want to consider that whole scenario. I took out a cigarette and my eyes closed again involuntarily as my head fell forward.
Copyright © by Zoe Hansen 2015. All Rights Reserved.