Tuesday, 6 August 2013
AFTERMATH: Chinless Wonder
Hello, as you may know, the first 22 episodes of this blog are the text of my ebook, 'How To Become A Crack Addict', which you can read here or buy on amazon, if that's the kind of thing you do. From then on, the blog is merely the humble parables of yours truly, Benjamin of Turnham Green. And below is today's fable, which I hope find edifying...
One afternoon, Jacob and I were on Shepherd's Bush Road. We had some crack, but didn't know where to go with it. He went through his list of nearby damaged ladies. One came up. Minutes later, we were up a concrete staircase in Veronica's place.
Introductions done, we all had a pipe of crack apiece. I sat back on the slumping sofa, relieved to have interrupted the comedown from the previous pipe, about half an hour ago in a stairwell, hoping this high wouldn't fade before Jacob fed me another. Jacob, himself, was negotiating some activity with our host, who was now picking at a crater on her chin...but Jacob didn't mind that because her t-shirt was tight, and the two of them sashayed into the kitchen.
They shut the door, but the hatch was open. Inside, Jacob administered another pipe each, and it went a bit quiet. I, distraught on sunken cushions, knew now that it would be a while before any more was administered in my direction. I knew not to interfere, though, because Jacob could be quite assertive when in pursuit of some private time with his lady. It was quiet. The telly was on, but silent, a game-show relating to antiques, which Jacob would sometimes show a keen interest in, but even Bargain Hunt wasn't going to entice him from the kitchen this time.
I knew there were still drugs, so just stayed glued to the sunken sofa, and hoped, though I fantasised about slipping away, free from the shackles of my craving, emancipated, transfiguring, over a period of weeks, with the sage support of a suitable keyworker, into the non-judgmental ex-user, who's polite to the users, but never dallies. But when desperation's you're only company, the only news is desperation's own self-recommendations.
There was activity through the hatch. Then, after a flurry of failed attempts to get a light, the two re-emerged. Jacob asked me to go to the shop to get a lighter. I gauchely said I would, if he'd give me a pipe when I got back. Of course he would. So bitterly I skipped down the concrete staircase and round the corner to the all-night kiosk. Then, returning with a clipper, I rejoined the party. 'One minute,' said Jacob, clipper in his clutches, and he and his lady went back in the kitchen. I knew there was no point asking for my promised pipe, because that's a contradiction in terms, and it was only desperation that had traduced me into hoping in the first place.
But there is a happy ending to my tale. That day, when the crack went, and it was established I had no more money, and couldn't get cash back at Sainsbury's, I drifted off, leaving Jacob and his lady to their private. But, a few weeks later, I met Veronica on Shepherd's Bush Road. By now, the crater in her chin was so cavernous that you could almost see her jawbone. She could tell I seemed concerned, but reassured me that she'd given up smoking crack because she couldn't really suck on a pipe anymore, as her gaping mouth would let far too much air in, and spoil the buzz, and there was no way she was going to start injecting...those people have no sense of physical integrity.
I was pleased she'd found a way forward, truly in the name of harm-reduction. 'I guess sometimes you have to do harm in one area to do good in another,' she surmised, and we smiled (well I think she was smiling). Then, leaning forward, her arm on mine, she placed a lipless kiss on my wary cheek.
And that is the end of today's parable.