Monday, 6 January 2014
SURVIVED ANOTHER CHRISTMAS
Hi, and thanks for dropping in. You might know, the first 22 episodes of this blog are the text of my ebook, 'How To Become A Crack Addict' (Jan to April 2013). You can read it here, or buy the ebook on amazon, if you do that kind of thing. From then on, the blog is the fairly frequent musings of me, Benjamin Of Turnham Green. You can also hear my songs on youtube, and there's a link to one of them here...
Here's the song link... Get Out Of My Room
SURVIVED ANOTHER CHRISTMAS
I haven't been very honest - I'm not even sure if I am being now. I nearly used crack over Christmas, with the obligatory heroin chaser to help with the comedown - one follows the other, as bleach follows shit.
I rang a dodgy number on Christmas Eve night, but when they rang back, I didn't answer, and switched off the phone. That in itself was a minor miracle. It was almost as if I had to go to the edge of the precipice, just to take a look...the view was more frightening than appealing, but desire hides even in fear, I find.
Even on Christmas Day, I felt like putting feelers out, and a Christmas past haunted me something rotten. A few Christmases ago, I'd watched Doctor Who, the only highlight of an otherwise solitary day, and out I went onto a nearly abandoned Goldhawk Road. I'd been wandering around a while, when I heard a dysfunctional howling from afar. It wasn't calling my name, but I decoded the noise as the name of a dealer I'd heard of. 'Junior,' it barked in the dark. I heard no reply, and it was all too far away to see. But, as luck would have it, the figure spotted me, and over it came, a shambling female crossing the road diagonally in a hooded coat.
'Hi,' it said, in a familiar tone. We'd met before.
'Hello,' I replied, knowing I'd hit oil. 'Were you calling Junior?' I asked, pretending not to know.
'I thought it was him,' she began, 'but it was someone else.' Bit of a non-story, really. But she had hit oil too...the only question was, how were we going to share it?
Social niceties done, she said she had some crack, and a pipe, and I got suitably excited. But where were we to go? Two minutes later, we sat at the bottom of the stairs in a block I'd passed many times, but never entered. I had a feeling that one of my normal friends lived there, but the promise of crack overrode considerations of that nature.
A few preliminary questions on my part, and it became apparent that she actually had nothing. But I was ensnared - or so I liked to think. Maybe that was why she'd been bellowing for Junior to replenish her. She could call someone though...Killer was on. She produced a phone, and within seconds was checking to see if he was around, did he have both? She asked me what I wanted, assuming (rightly) that I was paying. I said get seven crack and three heroin, another hundred pounds down the drain.
So, call done, it was down to Uxbridge Road, near the KFC, to meet the venerable Killer. We were lucky, he turned up pretty quickly, and it wasn't long before we were crouching behind the wheelybins behind the hostel she lived in. She had a pipe, as I stood there salivating like a dog, too impatient to even feel impatient. Then it was my go, and she lit me kindly with a flame that almost took my fringe off. But I'd had my pipe.
We bantered for a bit, in semi-whispers, but her second pipe got her a bit wrong, and she became implausibly concerned with a window that was not quite overlooking us. 'We'd better move,' she informed me, shoving pipe and lighter in pocket. 'Let's go to Darius.' I had no idea who Darius, but I just hoped he lived nearby, cos I was already in need of seconds.
A few corners turned, and coming down fast, she bad me sit on some stone steps. 'I'm just going to see if he's in,' she explained. 'Wait there, he's a bit funny about strangers.' I tried to imply that Darius knew me, to prevent her disappearing round the corner, never to return. 'Sit down,' she insisted. 'I'll give him a pipe and he'll be fine.'
She left her bag with me, as proof she'd be back, and I perched on the steps to a lightless house. She scampered round the corner, and I waited, well overdue a pipe, but she had the stuff, naturally.
After a couple of minutes, I was catastrophising. As I always did in such situations, I began to pray, asking god to deliver her unto me, with drugs, and full consent to enter Darius's. There were footsteps, and I almost a believer became, but it was an innocent passer-by, to whom I threw a vague grin, not sure whether to wish them a merry Christmas or not. They clip-clopped by. It all went worryingly quiet. Grim as shit, and bitter that I'd been duped for about the hundredth time, I took the liberty of feeling in the bag she'd left. One can of lighter fuel, a woolly hat, and a chicken takeaway box with a few fries in. I'd been done again.
I sat there for another ten minutes or so, hoping against hope, but no one came. Then, reluctantly, I rose, damp-arsed from the stone, and walked home, seething with a rage that almost gave off steam.
Home, I calculated what was left in my account. The answer was nil. There was no second shot at this Christmas burnout. I went to bed, trying to regulate my breathing, to assuage my anxiety and remorse at what I'd done.
You might wonder how such a memory could prompt cravings several Christmases later. All I can suggest is that any memory that involves, however embedded, that high climb to the fleeting peak of crack, is enough in itself. The addict is a salvager, looking for crumbs of euphoria in any ancient landfill. Even a rusty syringe might have some juice in it.
I hope you survived Christmas, too. And that is all I have to say today.