UPDATED December 14th, 2016
So this is where it’s all supposed to start. A basic outline, an imagining of sorts where I’m supposed to explore all the small little fucking spider webbed fragments of memories that are housed in the jumbled attic of my mind. What a blissfully wonderful, simple, and ridiculously overwhelming challenge.
I’d so dearly love to string everything together….which is clearly why I’m avoiding even beginning to think about a specific story to start the unfolding thereof. In this case, that means just spitting it out. Unadulterated, unedited, viscous in the slop of just getting it on paper. I’ll burn those bridges and cross the fires later.
So where to begin….
That crazy bitch had been pissed off at her boyfriend. It had started when we were playing that endless methed out game of Uno in the trailer across from Morgan’s. I don’t even know what had started her off. I think I assumed that I had something to do with it. I know I wasn’t wearing shoes. We had finally succeeded in getting Morgan’s poor boyfriend with his braces to start smoking with us. Poor bastard was just as far gone as I was and then some. I felt bad for him in the way I would a lost little puppy. Envious of his huge pupils. I loved the way eyes began to look when the black started to eat its way through the color. It was the end of clean thoughts, it was the end of humanity. It was like being carried away into the security of knowing that you weren’t there anymore. There was a peaceful fascination and raging wildness in it. I would lose myself in my own any time I caught sight of them in the mirror. Sickly enormous puddles of oily depths that offered nothing and dragged me into a world of absolute freedom where I could indulge the most whimsical or craven whim simply to sate an instant desire.
Why we jumped in her car or where we were headed I don’t know. Somewhere out of town. I was at the tail end of still owing the woman I had been babysitting for money after that horrible tear through town with everything she had strapped to my ankle. Like always after I had been awake for days things were snapping into blurs of disconnected focus without any attachment.
It didn’t used to be like that. When I had first started hitting ye ol’ crystal I could hold my shit together like a champion swimmer sucking oxygen before the final turn. Sleep deprivation was something that happened – par for the course my friend. We were tweakers and it was important that you were able to get used to your mind function sufficiently to continue funneling the ever so necessary funds to procure the ever so necessary chemicals to continue fueling the body. Otherwise you would stop moving….and that would mean going to sleep, which meant confronting the real world and it’s sad and pathetic real speed. With all the sad, worried, angry, threatening, concerned faces of those who care about you trying to figure out what to do next. Or worse, not trying to do anything. Then there would come the process of looking for all the things that you hadn’t realized you’d lost, spent, broken, misplaced, destroyed, sold, overdrawn, made promises about, lied about, etc….wreckage, wreckage, wreckage.
No, sleep deprivation wasn’t such a bad thing, as long as you could hold your shit together mentally enough to keep the fun going. Which I did wonderfully well for the first bit. Everyone else seemed to enjoy pushing it to a couple days. Say 48-72hrs.
Fucking pathetic. I was doing that on willpower when I was 10. Though when I got curious after my climbing coach’s story about caffeine pills and ate 32 of them at once when I was 12 and put myself in the ER it should have been a pretty significant warning sign that I wasn’t too worried about stimulants if they were going to be able to get me where I thought it was I wanted to go.
But I digress….
I wanted to push the limits as much as I could. I had gone on MDMA binges that would take me to 84+hrs. in and of themselves, eating 5-10 triple stacks a day until I couldn’t feel anything beyond just the blinding heat of joyful splendor in every movement and the touch of each dripping ray of light as I flipped those fucking greasy hamburgers at “the King”.
So I pushed it. Right from the rip. Initially, a sixteenth which should have lasted at least a couple days, would be gone in a day and a half – tops. Bobby got in on the mix. I didn’t realize he used to dabble in the arena. He had that freaking mirror of his. Huge, with the copper and silver engraved trees across it so you could never figure out exactly whether you had scraped up just tina or some poison with it. Not that it really mattered.
Days and days would go by. Somewhere in this whole jumble I feel like there are tangents that are going to go off and there should be an introduction to his sister. His best friend. The fact that he’s still the only person I believe I’ve ever actually sucker punched full on in the face. That girl that might have overdosed but I really don’t know, and how that was the final straw. That fat Indian girl and the giant lightbulb that we used to smoke out of. Buying the van when I went hitchhiking to Astoria, OR to go mushroom picking with that kid who was on the run from the MP and then wound up in Seattle, WA meeting up with the girl I lost my virginity to even though I didn’t come because I was on X. The apartment….oh god that apartment. The fact that I slept in the same bed with him when we slept just because. Carson, that fucking crazy black bastard. The lizard man.
Oh Christ, the connections back off to the old twins and their daughter. Was her name Nickie? It can’t be Nichole….and her big red headed protector. Her taking baths in front of us. We should have stopped them from letting them do the things they supposedly did. Breaking windows at the trailers around Bobby’s house before we moved. Holding his hand in his twin bed. Cutting my wrist to prove we were brothers because I didn’t know what else to do, because he was the only one that was as crazy as I was…and then he wasn’t any more. When I called to say she was going cold that was the end of it, and then I nearly lost it when he threw out the drugs. Listening to “Pink” in his car so fucking loud each morning after the two person parties with a pack of Kools, and a pack of Winstons, and two packs of Keystone ICE with his mom getting hammered on Vodka.
And then it all ties back into Burger King right? Because that would be the logical starting point? Going from moving back from Mexico to our new beautiful home in Terrebonne – to having those first couple beers with Zorin and Tyson Jumper. It had been so long, I didn’t even remember what it was like. I just wanted to know what it was like to be normal again. I’d been stripped out of life for so long, nobody thought of me as a real person any more. Doing front rolls in Zorin’s backyard. What the fuck did I know about being a teenager? Put my ass in a different country for a year and half and force me to develop to a higher standard of concept, fight philosophical and emotional battles daily with my peers and counselors to somehow prove that I had elevated myself to a higher plateau of maturity. I was 14 you lunatics….I came home at 15 and somehow everyone else still knew what it was like to walk, talk, and act like their age.
My awareness and ability to interact with the world was predicated on my awakenings from repeated exposure to the identity destroying workshops that were the favored grounds for extended psych exploration compliments of body distortions, sleep deprivation (a theme to come oddly enough), and confrontational techniques from elder peers and clinicians. I had learned deeply about myself, and it was my duty to analyze everyone close to me continuously for their own wellbeing so that we could jointly dive into the emotional soup beneath the surface and confront every tattered part of each other – for surely that was the most important use of conversation with friends. This concept of vacant chatter and bullshitting was a long forgotten concept. Caring was pushing your peers to be better, even if you had to rip them apart to get there ….
Not terribly useful when you’re awkward and confused to begin with…..but who fucking knows if it would have made a difference anyways.
Was it Jessica I lost my virginity to? I just remember the little black baby crawling out of the bedroom while we were on the floor and the frustration of barely being able to sustain an erection while on the ecstasy. There was Fire Crotch of course, Bobby, the lunatic tweaker assistant manager, Debbie who I eventually lived with for a very brief period of time, the two normal red trash Redmond kids, the jail bird who shot me up for the first time who hated to be called punk, the large woman who lived in subsidized housing that I lived with as well when I moved back from Boston the first time who would ritualistically be fucked by a Mexican or Mexicans each night for/with a case of Corona’s in hand, and the old hand semi-toothless tweaker (I think it was Patrick) who gave me my first sampling of crystal in exchange for some weed that I happened to have for some reason. I smoked it off the top of a bowl of green back when I was still doing that sort of thing, and it immediately brought me back to when I was still in High School and the same kid who had put the Christmas light through my ear had started selling me his little blue 10mg Adderall.
It was love at first taste….but I needed far more than a taste to really get the full appreciation for the brutal power of her caustic kiss. Enter at various dates and times that no longer seem to have any coherent logic or sequence, Stopher, Pockets, Riff Raff, Adam, at one point even for the span of opening the door on her front porch long enough to recognize me – the black girl who I had turned down when she offered to have sex with me in 9th grade because I thought she was too fat and the proposal was to go behind the football field. The dude with the house in Bend over by Costco where the spotlight incident happened after we decided my Tercel was our pirate ship – so conveniently timed that it solidified what I’d been saying for the last two weeks that I’d been awake about being followed.
That was the funny thing. After I lost my mind the first couple minds and fully sank into the psychoses – meaning that I was absolutely unable to function in a productive enough fashion to secure further drugs, operate within even the addict community, or do much more beyond simply huddle in a corner and shake – my ability to retain my sanity for any notable period began to shrank dramatically. Initially I could keep myself moderately “proper” until about the 200+ hour mark….things began to get crazy after that. After the first major psychoses sequence, something involving a whole lot of shadow monsters, my eyes rotating independently, and a giant bio-mechanical six-story mutant police donkey blasting smoke and chasing me across the fields of Terrebonne – that started to drop back…..150+ hours would be the magic number…then 100+ hours….then 90+ hours….etc…
There’s nothing that can be described as remotely fun about being in a legitimate tweaked to the max psychosis. The hallucinations are 100% real, with no possibility of dissolution or separation from your awareness. They interact with you, their surroundings, have consciousness, plans, intentions, plots, languages, families, fucking histories and cultures sometimes depending on what shape the monsters take.
Ask anyone who has experienced the shadow landscape in its complete glories and they will almost certainly explain to you with conviction that there is an overlay of a separate plane of existence on ours. One filled with a seething, malevolent, clever, violent, sneaking, mass of monsters that hide just beyond your immediate awareness waiting only for a single opportunity to bring you into their torturous plans for pain and madness beyond any human bound word could comprehend. Methamphetamine is the key that opens the eyes and mind to that world….it’s the filter for your eyes, and their bridge to access your soul.
So, that can be part of what you’re experiencing – meanwhile, your heart is literally trying to remove itself from your chest or burst itself against your ribcage. Your body feels as though it wants to tremble itself to pieces perhaps, or thrash into fifteen directions simultaneously, or maybe you can do nothing but simply clench your fists and every muscle so tightly that you feel as solid as a rock. Inside your mouth, your tongue has become a scraped and bleeding wound gashed against the now agonizing edges of your teeth as all the moisture has long ago departed your body through every known method. If you’ve remembered to drink something in the last full day it’s a miracle.
It’s like you’re about to die. Explode. Or just collapse.
Mentally I used to just want to scream, or cry, and couldn’t form thoughts or words any more. It was just an absolutely overpowering sense of sheer, undiluted panic. Nothing would shield me from it….no calming thought in the world would end the sense of pure, radiant fear that would wash over me.
And yet I would come back for more.
Because underneath it….
Something would feel good.
The fucking pleasure pathway – or whatever fucking dopamine agonist, synergist, masturbationist meth is….it was there.
The vast majority of me wanted to cut bloody swatches out of myself to find some way to just transcend the most intense mental and emotional anguish I have ever imagined experienced – that would last for days and nights on end without rest. Yet for that small sense of pleasure – I would journey to the ends of this hell over, and over, and over, and over….press myself so far the boundaries of what even my fell “heads” felt was okay that I became an outcast. Me and my branding – my notorious Santa Claus hat.
The first time I had ever warn it off season was in 9th grade….I didn’t want to fall into any of the socially nebulous categories that everyone knows of in high school. I was a rock climber, I was smart, I was weird, and I wanted to do drugs. A Santa Claus hat during the end of Summer into the Fall seemed lie a sufficiently bizarre calling card to elicit the kind of attention that I was hoping to draw.
Turns out I was right, and years later, when I wanted to recall some memory from those individuals who remembered my reputation for dropping acid before school and freaking out in the commons, getting the entire science glass tanked on ethyl chloride while the teacher gave a presentation, robbing the gym locker room, getting suspended and expelled for very mysterious reasons and then disappearing for a year and a half – all I had to do was put it back on. It became my calling card, my cape, and my identity. If I needed to become the villainous madman ready to do anything at any cost – burn the world to the ground for just one more $20 – let’s bring in Santa! It was stupid and youthful….but I thought I looked fucking good.
Realistically, I was a skeleton. Nearing vaporization. At one point I0 was standing 6’2” tall and weighing in at a staggeringly huge 135lbs. of skin and bones. I’m pretty sure if you looked close enough you could see the molasses my thickening blood had morphed into trying desperately to move beneath the paper disguising itself as my outer layers. The hollowed out chunks in what was my skull were no longer recognizable as anything describable as attractive windows to a soul – just aching cut outs to coals of frustration, mindless chattering banter between myself and the seas of demons that I was tormented by constantly by my own actions which invited them in to travel between my buzzing ears. There’s a tattoo that is perched forever on my left shoulder these days. It started during the final days of the longest spin I ever got spun on. It highlights the image of me face in all its weirdly grotesque glory going into the 300+ hour awake mark.
At that point there’s nothing real left in the world. The fabric of existence has been ripped to pieces, and resewn by crystalline fingers into a tapestry of madness that drifts between the cosmos. Ethereal, haunting, overwhelming when it chooses to present a new scene for the viewer to be engulfed in with neither option nor control over their role to play. One moment they may be a super star drug tyrant overseeing the peasant users around them – fools to touch such tools as these that they cannot hope to understand…..the next, huddled underneath the glovebox with a permanent marker jotting down the next sequence of license plate numbers and their related car descriptions (particular attention to be noted to the gold Volvo which is always third in line at each intersection) which form the state wide task force that has been deployed to hunt you down after the systematically arrest each of your friends and turn them against you.
The tattoo shows the lewd, cheek partially raised, only one sided grin that became a permanent fixture on my face for several weeks. There was something that was both somewhat charming – think everyone’s favorite super villain from Batman – and terribly off putting. There was no rhyme or reason to why I was “smiling”. Nothing phased me, or it. The situations that were plaguing my now nearly homeless existence; the impending and quickly approaching doom that I seemed determined to drive myself to by ingesting enormous quantities of ice all at once – to that extend that even when the dealers or our funds would dry up for a day or two, I could ride the high for the intervening time without coming down even a touch. Even when I was passed along right after the initial outline was laid in by the artist (also a middle man to my dealer who was trying to knock me out with sleeping pills unsuccessfully to get me out of my psychosis since I was freaking people out) to a black man who worked at Starbucks with less polite sexual intentions towards my nubile young body….couldn’t let the smile waver.
I really can’t even remember that much of what happened, nor if something did. Though I have to assume since I’d been awake for well over the 450+ hour mark by the time I got to the basement with its strange purple feathery covered couch and mood lighting and all I had eyes for was the pipe – who knows what I would have been willing to do. I can recall dancing for him with no shirt on. Many, many, many plants upstairs. Lining the kitchen counters. And he had a fascination, bordering on obsession, with ensuring that I only used the blue part of the lighter flame to hit the pipe. It had something to do with it being the neutral part – but it doesn’t make sense to me in retrospect. Didn’t matter then, I just know he had almost a ball of some truly superb crystal, and even typing about it now I can feel my heart accelerating and my eyes start to cross dreamily.
How oddly sick isn’t it? In a recollection of potentially being raped over drugs by someone I didn’t know in their basement – where I believe I can account for being locked for nearly 3-days since I didn’t make it to detox until the 28th day of being awake, which I went to almost directly from there. But that aside – despite the fact of what is happening during the recollection – it actually inspires a desire in me to go get high on the exact same substance precipitated the event in the first place.
Being an addict sucks, it really does. You want the things that kill you worse than the things that save you. It’s like the survival instinct we’re supposed to be born with was installed backwards and then given some extra juice.
“We fucked up the orientation Ted, may as well make it run fast and aggressive eh?”
But that’s where it all wound up in the end of me being 17 or 18. I think at least. I can never get the timeline right, which is part of what drives me fucking crazy in the first place…..there’s no linear orientation to how all of this happened. More like scrambled eggs tossed off a unicorn’s back while it was attempting to hitch cock attachment to an eagle on a “Rainbow Overpass” sign crossing I-5 Southbound. Certain events clearly happened before others…..Mexico establishes, Age 14 – I left Mothers Day, whichever year I was in 9th grade….I turned 15 that August in Bahia de Kino, so that’s my establishing point.
I believe I didn’t even last a full month after returning to Oregon and our move where I was helping my father turn the existing garage into his shop and my mom’s art studio before I had the first drink with the aforementioned Zorin and Tyson. Shortly after that, I think my license, which had been delayed, came into functioning, and Burger King came into play.
But that’s about where things stop making sense. Then came MDMA binges – because somehow I encountered my old connection in Bend. Chocolate coated mushrooms and a kangaroo at the Fair, I went to a very nice rehab in Salem, OR which kicked me out on the last day for smoking since I was under age (I got the cigarette from a neo-nazi there who didn’t know I was raised Jewish – I believe this all happened later and was related to a check fraud case….think I went from here to the juvenile homeless program where I met Pockets, but that throws other events out of sequence), moved to Colorado to a strange warehouse program where Peter Dreher (my best friend from Impacto Positivo) had been establishing himself. Almost immediately left when I started to run out of money and felt like it was a cult where everyone “loved me” beyond rational understanding. I do remember the tall white kid crying because for some reason he felt like I understood him – I don’t think I did anything more then ever even smile at him.
I remember being in Colorado, but no idea where it fits on the timeline. Taking a 48hr. busride from Denver to Marblehead, drinking cough syrup and tripping to Chicago and then getting ripped off for some fake LSD and showing up in Marblehead with my weird hippie hat on….which must mean this was all after the hitchhiking trip in the Northwest and my van. Was in Marblehead for a matter of days. I went to school and bowling with Frima, because at the time I was an oddity and she was curious how somebody strange like me was allowed to enter into such a privileged and elite world as Marblehead. All of that ended at some point when I got drunk and threw snowballs at her house and her ex-Russian Mob father informed us that I was not to come near her again.
I was only in Marblehead long enough to steal a few hundred dollars, phone Carson and order a quarter ounce I believe and then jump a flight home. That’s how I came to live with that strange fat girl in her subsidized housing behind the value grocery store and met the girl who would later “overdose” at our apartment, Maddy. Wow, can’t believe her name finally came back to me after all these years. And I think the girl I was living with was Stephanie for some reason.
Someone had introduced me to her via the phone, her neighbor was another BK worker as was her husband at a later point….it may have been her. Let’s call her Stephanie for the sake of argument. I was allowed to sleep on the couch in the living room, which was sweet seeing as how I contributed nothing other than an incessant stream of bizarre comments and promises about eventually helping to pay for things after I got my lucrative Burger King job back. She had a very young daughter, maybe 2, that lived there as well. After learning the routine, it became my mission to become blackout drunk nightly by 9pm, which is roughly when the Mexican worker(s) would start showing up with cases of Corona and start humping her to screaming, thumping, fake or real orgasms, I could never tell, because, well, I’d never given anyone one – male or female – myself excluded. Booze and drugs were all I wanted or cared about. They were my food, my water, my sex, my love. That’s all I cared for. It was beyond irritating to listen to the “normal people” up above enjoying themselves in a traditional fashion nightly, so I would set out with a vengeance to obliterate all potential traces of consciousness that would make it possible or require me to listen to them engage in the act.
That must have been towards the middle of summer that I had originally moved into her place. I wasn’t there for very long before, for whatever absolutely insane reason I was able to get her to justify it – Marlene decided it was okay to start the tradition of a nice dinner for my birthday. That was the first year. Here I was, essentially homeless, and I took Bobby and the insane cum dumpster whose home I was currently blacking out in regularly with grandma’s money to what I thought was a nice restaurant because it was in a hotel and we somehow scrounged acceptable looking clothing from somewhere. I ordered a martini I think, because that’s what Marlene would have ordered. An “Absolute martini, straight up, ice on the side, no garnish, with a twist.”
Then I’m certain there was a bottle of wine, and fish. Because that’s what you ordered when you went out for a nice dinner. Fish and wine and martinis. Naturally, when we got back later and blacked out on cheap beer and even cheaper wine, that was just to get in touch with the low brow hanger-ons that were crowding our style. One couldn’t be rich and behave rich all the time. That would be insane.
I do remember that the store next to her place had allowed me to the opportunity to work there as a stock boy. That fine position and I parted ways after not even a full shift.
When I was living with her, I used to break in through the back wire fence, and scurry up the drain pipes, and whatever was available on the rear storage area of the building in order to gain access to the roof. It felt like a nice vantage point once and awhile to drink from and look out across the town of Redmond, and up to the stars above. Just about the only damn place I could ever find some peace and serenity it seemed was in the glimpses to infinity.
But all of this is complete jump off from where the damn story started in the first place. With that bitch across the street from Morgan’s trailer. All though oddly enough I think it ended for me at the gas station across the street from the grocery store I had been climbing on the roof of. That had been the site as well at some point – years later I think – of a New Year’s Eve fiasco that turned into something nearly deadly.
Why not chase down this string in the spider web for a moment?
If I remember correctly, she had been the girl that I had wanted to date in 9th grade before I had been shipped away to Mexico. When I came back for my first home visit, we had gone out for Chinese food at the restaurant that my old Talented and Gifted classmate Toni’s (a gal) family owned. We chatted and she gave me a sympathy letter and kissed me with empty promises. I think that was my first kiss. I think. Doesn’t really matter anymore I suppose.
When I got back, I seem to recall something along the lines of Tyson Jumper having hooked up with her and him telling me this and apologizing. There’s a lighter burned smiling face that ties to that moment. Not the actual attachment to her – I can’t even remember her fucking name – but that feeling of cold betrayal by someone (or someones) you had placed your faith in without knowing it. It’s taken years and years of experience since then, and I still have that utter shock ripple through me every time it happens.
Each step we take through this world we leave small gestures of confidence with every encounter. Faithful trust to each object, be it a red light and our willing trust that if we step in front of the stranger in his car who acknowledges us he won’t have a change of heart; to the incremental growths we see mature with family members or friends who we’ve provided love and nurtured for decades, through good times and bad. We lay forth an expectation unto each interaction we have based on our earlier experience with that object, or person, or scenario – and plan accordingly.
But people are fallible, objects corrode or wear thin, scenarios cannot account for every contingency.
At its root – that moment set the tone for something I was to very deeply take in. I had been removed. Myself, everything, everyone he had been involved with in Bend, OR had been left open. Now that he was back, that was nice, but he would need to start over from absolutely nothing. No one even knew who he was anymore. That people could do anything they wanted with the remnants of my life when I left a place, and as long as they apologized, I should just accept it as what it was.
It meant that I was very much less than human in the eyes of people that I thought were my friends. So what did the rest of the world see me as?
So, years later, I met back up with this girl. Let’s call her Darla for a reference point. At least I seem to remember it’s her at this moment, but memory is a fucking awful fluid thing. We start in on a party. Again, with me, the drugs are the sex, so that’s the only concern I have. Crystal on more meth to the point it’s a full on psychoses and I feel like a must have blacked out but I’m in Redmond now. It’s crossed into the New Year (can’t remember the year, but I know it’s been on the cusp of crossing the day for some reason). We’re both at someone’s house I don’t really know…still don’t know him to this day or how we got there. But I’m finally starting to pass out, on the floor next to the bed.
I think there’s a part of my brain that must have been working for days if we’ve all been going together on some jealously about him and her potentially being a compatible pair. So when they start making noises on the bed right as I’m starting to finally sleep, I snap, I don’t even say a word – I just left the house. Wearing a t-shirt and jeans. Into literally freezing temperatures. No jacket.
Turns out I was about 3.5miles northwest of the gas station across the street from that grocery store. I only found that out after stumbling blindly down back roads until I wandered into a sewer treatment station where at 4am some other strange individual was getting stoned and offered me a ride to town. He dumped me at the gas station, who refused to let me stay inside the store. I placed a collect call to my mom and dad who lived about 15minutes away by car. They told me they’d be there sometime around 9am – apparently I was failing to communicate the freezing to death portion appropriately.
Timeline wise, I don’t know if this happened before living with the dumpster girl…otherwise I would have tried banging on her door…everything is so malleable. Maybe it will become clear if I just keep hashing it all out.
The bitch had loaded her boyfriend, Morgan, Morgan’s boyfriend (I’m going to start calling him Eric) – Eric, and me into her car for some off-roading. Ignore the fact that this was a beat to hell Corolla that was lucky to be doing any on-roading, we had been tweaked up for days, and there was that little matter of owing people money and an absence of shoes – apparently this was a good idea.
It came to a head in a mudpit a couple miles northeast of town this time. Back roads had long since given way to the underbellies of streaks in the moonlight that imagined they could someday be paths. We had found ourselves barreling down one of these unfortunate scratches in the desert that happened in include a small basin. Small in the relative scale of the desert, but large enough proportionally to absorb our metal missile hurtling across the water trapped therein easily. Our tires promptly squelched up until the floorboards were resting against the muck and all the desperate cursing, threats, throwing of random objects, lack of cell phone signals, hitting of steering wheels, spinning of sunken rubber, would avail us nothing.
We were fucked, in the middle of the night.
No fucking shoes. Goddamn it.
The inevitable result, as it was predestined to be when we first stepped foot in that damn car – hell – maybe when we agreed to go to her house in the first place – was to walk. That seemed to be my life, then, and it seems to have gone full circle as I write this some 12-13 years later. When all of this was happening though, there was a sense of adventuring with an acceptable and known conclusion.
At a certain point, after I started with the meth certainly, but more likely just before when I started taking all the MDMA again, and cough syrup to the point I went to the hospital, and drinking with Bobby. Somewhere in there, I looked at everything going on, and knew that I couldn’t survive to an old age living the way that I was. That was okay with my though. I learned to embrace that side of me. The part that wanted to find a way to go crazy and chase the welcome release of an end. By the age of 17, I was pushing myself mentally and physically so far past the breaking point that it seemed inconceivable that I would make it to 18 or beyond.
Survival instinct is a strange thing though. Or maybe, it’s the addict inside demanding that we sustain ourselves just a bit longer, for a little more suffering. Whatever the reason – that night was a classic example of how my days/evenings went. Somehow, my hopes for just simply settling down and maybe even going to sleep had been turned inside out. Rather than laying down, or hell, being inside a house, I was now barefoot, on the side of a road, covered in mud, in the middle of the night, with no idea how or where the fuck I was headed or when I might expect to get there.
Jump forward the next 12-13 years or so and I would repeatedly find myself in similar situations. Between leaving various programs under less than savory conditions. Or running the streets (and I mean legitimately running the streets) until dehydration would take me into the hospital. The number of times I would find myself in some strange situation completely out of alignment with what/where I had started is innumerable. My entire existence was always predicated in moving from one location to the next. It was the only time I felt as though I had any degree of control over what came next. In the period of time leading up to when I was asked to start writing this – I lived in 21 different programs and jails in a 13-month period.
17 of them were during a 7-month period of time.
Running, always running.
That night though, all we were doing was walking. Staggering. Down the side of a highway and waiting for a signal which eventually came. It wasn’t the best option for me sadly, as the gentleman who picked us up, happened to be one of the runners for the kindly woman who I owed a good deal of money to. He had some questions about where I had been, and where the money was, and where the drugs were. None of which I had satisfactory answers for.
In my present state, I don’t think there were many satisfactory answers for anything.
Which was an interesting facet to my life. I had people, different people, on three separate occasions, come up to me and apologize. Not because of something they had done wrong to me. But because they had me figured wrong. In one instance a Discman had gone missing, and everyone looked to me as the resident tweaker as the culprit. I maintained that I had nothing to do with it, but they still ransacked my shit and threw me out of the house. Similar circumstances surrounded the others as well.
Long story short, I was always a complete and total mess (after that initial stage of being able to hold it together). People were aware of it, but as I told them, I wasn’t interested in hurting anyone or getting over on people (at least not at that point). I didn’t want to get high around other people – I couldn’t handle the paranoia. But I was honest about what I was and what I was doing.
I was trying to get as high as humanly possible, and then go be by myself. I didn’t want to be around people in the first place, and it was a necessary evil to get what I needed. But I had no reason to steal or piss off the group – what was it going to gain me?
Even amongst the lunatics I was running with at that age I was an oddity. I had embraced the madness with such utter contempt for hope of escape that I was placed outside their circle. There was nothing fun about how I used – being around me was always an assault on your mind and body. Examples are demanded.
The bleach. Stopher’s abusive stepfather (or whatever the fuck he was) was trying to pass a drug test for parole and somehow figured that I was going to be able to help him figure it out as I was a genius in his mind (great ego boost there to be recognized as a genius by a spun monkey). I told him to put a capful of bleach in a gallon of water, Drink that. A gallon of cranberry juice, followed by another gallon of water, and he would be golden for the test in two days. Oddly enough, he seemed concerned that drinking Clorox might not be the best thing for his continued survival, while he proceeded to chase down another hit of crystal with his nostrils. To prove the point that he would be just fine, I decided to fill the bottom of a coffee mug with straight bleach and smash it back as a shot, no dilution.
Turns out you live through the experience.
If you’re high enough, you don’t even have to go to the hospital.
You just can’t taste anything for about a month and your throat feels like somebody took a blowtorch to carve The Declaration of Independence into it.
Or slashing my arm to declare myself blood brothers with Bobby. Window smashing with my fists wrapped in shirts and waking up with glass filling my pockets. Stealing leather jackets stacked 10 high for the thrill of nit. Diving out a third story window years later to escape my landlord. Hell, hitchhiking to Astoria to go mushroom picking with a stranger and then smoking meth with neo-Nazi bikers and a hippy wearing a Cat in the Hat top hat. Waking up in underground caverns buried in the middle of the desert in the middle of the night with no concept of where I was, who I was with, or how I had got there. Carpet surfing for so many days straight that I finally started putting labels on literally EVEFRYTHING in order to try and keep track of where I had been. Moving to Yellowstone for 3 days, smoking weed, going insane, and pulling gas and go’s with $2 in my pocket to make it nearly 400miles towards home before my head gasket died. I gave that car to the cashier at the grocery store. Signed over the title right then and there as a gift when she said that her son could certainly use it.
I did mention that the stereo needed fixing (no because I had smashed it out when the CIA started tracking me through the red light), that the gasket needed fixing obviously, and that it certainly could use some touch ups (seeing as how I had used permanent markers to write out each and every license plate and the best description I could of all the cars in the task force assigned to catch me).
So yeah. Batshit crazy, and that was all sans my fucking santa hat.
The point of all the rambling I suppose is that I embodied the persona of a tried and true meth head with no scruples or morality. Which on a certain level was correct – however, I was at that stage of my addiction still able to start a run with sufficient access to funds and drugs that I’d be high enough that I never felt it necessary to cross the line of hurting another addict. I actually tried to hold to that faulty logic of “Honor Amongst Thieves” which is such a bullshit statement when you introduce any sort of narcotic into the equation.
I don’t really recall where the sequence went right after that. I know that I was now carless. I think this is probably about the point where I started either working at Carl’s Jr. in Bend, or I was doing the whole Mexican Restaurant thing in Terrebonne. Either one, the transportation method was much the same. For both, I would leave the house and walk to the “center” of town. Read that however you will. It was the closes thing to a centralized repository for services that the beautiful and luxiourious hamlet of Terrebonne had to offer. A strip of half a dozen restaurants, a grocery store, the conjoined police station and post office my mom referenced as our only true designation of townhood, and a couple gas stations.
When I was working in Bend, I seem to remember (at least a number of different times) – and this may have been before everything, or after – who knows…hitchhiking the remainder distance. It would involve hitting I-5, sticking a thumb out, and usually catching a ride as deep into Redmond as possible first. I’d walk out the southend, past the Burger King and Wal-Mart, and start my wild arm swinging gesticulations designed as though by magic to summon some semi-inebrieteated lunatic to pick up my tweaked out ass on the side of the road. I think I figured that if I waved my arms in just the right posturing freak out series of gestures they would assume I was mentally damaged enough that I wasn’t a real threat, which I probably never was anyways.
Eventually the ride would appear and spirit me away the next 15 miles or so until dropping me (usually) within relatively close proximity to the restaurant. Coincidentally, Carl’s Jr. was right around the corner from the high(ish) end hotel that my mother’s parents used to stay at when they would come to visit so very many years ago. They used to get rooms that had murphy beds in them – the first and only times I ever saw them in hotels.
Despite the murphy beds, the hotel overlooked the river, and had an awesome indoor pool and Jacuzzi. Sadly, I left one of my stuffed Opus penguins there once and we never got him back. For years I held onto it. I washed away that memory years later when I shot up meth for the first time in a room around on the back hand right corner. I had to ride my bike to the opposite end of town to go buy the needles. The old jailbird Jim from Burger King was there with me, one of the girls from Carl’s Jr. and one of her friends. He hit me with 10u – I didn’t even feel it…but it felt great to be doing it in such a dirty way. That was what I found to be so terribly thrilling about the needle years later.
The utter sick disgust and welcoming self hatred you could feel knowing how putrid you would become shortly. The instantaneous devolution into a creature of instinct. The reduction into something lethally wasted, beyond contempt, and mindless pursuant to a basic calling.
The pipe and funneled bill recognize the drug as master.
The needle bows you to it as nothing else ever will.
From Carl’s Jr. was also my first encounter with running the streets in strange company. I had met a hobo one day after my shift. Literal train jumper. I don’t even recall how the conversation started, nor where it went. But I do recall sleeping down on a mattress he checked for bugs by the train tracks just across from the mill district and houses in Bend. Literally a stone’s throw from where I grew up rock climbing as a child.
I was so passionate about that sport.
Hours and hours would wash past in clouds of chalk motes filtering through the air in the gym.
Maybe if I grunt when I torque down here and backstep here I can crank off that left handed two finger crimp and hit the bucket from where my right is pinched. It’s a little gnarly, but if I go fully dyno on it and just let me feet cut after I push off I think I can hold….
It was a special language. Like being part of a very unique and private club that you had to gain admittance to through your blood, sweat, tears, suffering, dedication, passion, desire, and love. Everything about it made me drive myself harder and love every single god-fucking-damn moment of it. And I was competitive. With everyone and myself.
It seemed that the longer that I kept pushing myself though – the harder the competition kept driving themselves as well. We were all on similar rises. I was always 2nd/3rd in my bracket behind Kyle and occasionally one other depending on the day. It was so strange that when we went to Nationals that year, before everything really started to fall to pieces, I placed just barely high enough to get out of the qualifiers into the quarter finals. I had considered that to be a foregone conclusion before walking in. I was only two spots from elimination – something live 25th out of 27 that were accepted through to the next round. Kyle had fell at a pocket right at the second crux roof move on one of the routes and hurt his finger, shockingly he was going to be out for the duration.
Rather than succumb, I just assumed this meant I would be climbing harder in the upcoming days – and I was correct. With my trusty size 5 shoes filled with hot water so as to permit my hardened feet to slide as they molder around tighter than a second skin would be; I was ready. Like scorpions dancing across the swarms of sandstones grinding against their claws as they seek the succor of a calm stone in the desert – I was a venom in a stinger sent high across the wall to latch onto each hold with precocious precision.
Until I didn’t.
I’d moved from 25th, to 12th, to 8th, and at the final round, 6th. I’d fell while moving from a sloping open hand blob of grossness about 40ft. up the wall. I knew I had managed to move further up the wall then at least the competitors prior owing to the cheers from the audience when I had made a move earlier in the route. However, I’d watched the last several climbers make it past me (Ethan Pringle included – who subsequently went on to become one of the greatest athletes in the sport).
In essence? I threw a tantrum.
I demanded the recheck where I moved from. Use cameras, their memories, evaluate their points again – I was certain that I had moved to the hold, then backed down – I used every manipulative, filthy addict trick in the book. Even though I hadn’t actively started using yet.
I refused to accept that I just hadn’t climbed hard enough.
“No.” just simply was not an acceptable answer and I refused to hear it.
But at the end of the day, I placed 6th – one spot outside of the International Team.
I’ve wondered many times what that would have been like and whether my life would have been any different if I’d qualified for that team.
In the end, I don’t think it would have changed a goddamn thing.
And that is absolutely fucking pathetic.
Later in life I would learn what that actually meant to be absolutely pathetic. Sucking your dealers dick for a couple blasts off a crack pipe while your wife a children sleep in the house your paying for is one step towards pathetic I had to take before the end.
In the younger years as I started to warm up into the strangely high function then absolutely non-functioning monster I was to become, there was one thing I knew set me apart. I looked at everything with this whacky perception that despite the fact I was clearly aspiring for annihilation in everything that I did, I didn’t really believe that anything out there could actually destroy me. I would take ludicrous amounts of whatever was available – sufficient that an inexperienced user like myself at the time should have simply dropped dead frothing at the mouth while their heart did an erratic pop and lock right out of the rib cage. But inevitably, all that happened is I made a fool of myself, acted ridiculously, became a paranoid twitching mess, but no death. I know I came to believe on a certain level I was nearly immune to it.
I challenged the man in the robe to draw his scythe. It is a foolish endeavor that we are all destined to lose. I was young, stupid, and full of drug fueled bravado. Slightly more than a decade later when I overdosed and my “friends” tucked me under a push so no one would see the body after robbing me….I was less inclined to speak ill of the skeleton.
For those who haven’t experienced it – and this is an awful segue – there is no light. There is just darkness, and a blank lack of awareness. You cease. There is a great nothingness. It’s terribly depressing to consider.
However, at the time….
I lost my fear of death, and it all became a game.
If I really think about it – somewhere in there, probably about the time that meth entered the equation, that’s when the shroud descended over everything.
For as long as I can remember, there has been a masking dilution of – er – something. Call it connection, call it emotion, call it humanity, call it reality and you’re probably close. I don’t actually have the right words for it sadly. Suffice to say that there is almost a visceral component to it. Light diffuses across it like my eyes are wrapped in the finest of silks. Just beyond, is the real world, very alive, and very very real. Here, is a slightly isolated, subtly removed island of individuality and altered reality amongst the larger whole – never the two shall meet.
I know all that sounds like some esoteric obscure fucking shit. Long story short is that I got introduced to meth, it fucking fried my goddamn brain to the point that I believe the distracted vision I have of the world to this day is partly an ongoing result from that. When I take Adderall or Vyvanse it’s a similar disconnect after the first night of being awake. Very similar in fact. It’s a haunting reminder of that feeling which sometimes permeates my existence like I am truly being swept outside the boundaries of normal reality to a place where I can only look in from my isolated post. Or alternatively, it sweeps by and gently brushes me with a friendly, ‘Hi fucker, don’t get too comfy, I’ll be back to make sure you aren’t able to actually connect with that special someone when it actually matters. Love you bitch.”
Or something like that.
I don’t fucking know.
Where was I going with all this. I swear there was a connection to chewbacca somewhere that I thought I had locked down.
Fuck it, jump to the next thought or memory right?
Somewhere along the line I wound up going to the juvenile detention center again and they sent me to a rehab in Salem which was a very nice place – they even let you smoked if you were over the age of 18. I’d already comfortable establish my persona of rehab guru, and knew I could do this place with my hands tied behind my back. Which I should have been able to, except the night before the last day I bummed a smoke of a gentleman neo-nazi who made his funds from cutting down parking meters with a sawzall. I failed to mention my jewish upbringing.
Bastards threw me out on the last day over smoking.
I didn’t go home though. This was during the end phase I believe, so I must have been about 17 at the time. I wasn’t permitted to be anywhere around the house really. Or I could live on the property, but I couldn’t go in the house…I can’t remember the specifics. I think it was the later though. Mom always was there as moms are to let me in for a shower and what have you.
But that was all later, right now we were coming back from Salem.
I went to a youth “homeless shelter” with a program component in Bend. I don’t remember the name of the program. I did okay there for the first little while. Though I did get sick eating mushrooms and trying to go see a rap concert. That’s where I met pockets when e was laying out lines of coke from a poison jar. It was over from that point. The two of us went absolutely haywire.
A young woman I knew from somewhere moved in as well on the female side, but her name completely escapes me. She was trouble. Pockets (Tyson) and I had avoided trouble for the most part – we were smoking out of lightbulbs in the rooms, we knew we were going to get in trouble eventually. But she through gas on the fire. She pulled a check scam, linked up with some guy going by the moniker Batman, and grabbed a quarter ounce of fresh cooked rocky heaven.
Then got arrested for the check fraud as soon as she brought the meth upstairs.
We tried to find it and couldn’t.
When I went back to juvie and saw her, apparently we were just too stupid to find that beautiful prize at the time, a reflection of how brain-dead we had become – it was just simple in her pillow case.
I saw her again later before I escaped to the East Coast. Round about the time I met the son of a woman who was acting as server at the Mexican restaurant (here we go, maybe this helps put the timeline together a bit), and his amazing introduction and phrasing when he found out and tried meth for the first time and was a few hours in.
“I’ve got it! We just have to stay high forever. If we do that, then life will be perfect!”
“Go for it man. I don’t think anyone else is trying that.”
Maybe a dumb interaction, but to me it’s always stuck out in my mind because of how passionate he was in that statement. Like it was an epiphany that no one else had ever thought of before. I have to reflect on whether that is indeed what I sound like when I’m high. For me, it was a brief snapshot in audio hearing myself – though I tended to either jabber in a million directions fucking incoherently, or more regularly, not speak at all because compressing a million ideas sufficiently to make words out of them just wasn’t a viable option.
The gent in question was the son of a woman that I was (or had) worked with at a Mexican restaurant in Terrebonne as a dishwasher and prep-cook. She would periodically leave work with me to give a ride home and we would spark a few bowls on the way back to the house right up the street. At some point on down the line when I had gone missing, my mother had gone to the restaurant and lambasted her in regards to poisoning me with meth again. I didn’t hear about the incident until she snookered me into taking a trip across nearly 35 miles over the prospect of selling a small bag. She didn’t pay, let me have it over my mom going in, and I left in a huff. I’m inclined to believe that was during the nearly month binge period of being awake and coherency was anything but a reality.
The small Mexican that I worked with in the back was an quintessential example of the “hardworking beaner” – constantly pulling double shifts there and at a diner in Madras. He was aware of my poor ability to make it to work and function in a reliable fashion owing to his familial experience in drugs. Though to be fair, when I showed up and was so out of it that I had scratched the inside of my ear canal – hoping to this day that’s all it was – which supplied my with a steady trail of dripping blood dribbling out. The inexpressibly horrible feeling of being tweaked out and feeling something dribbling wetness inside one’s head was fascinating and I clearly felt that it needed to be shared. He was less then amused, and had some serious criticisms over the following days.
In relief though – even assuming that I simply geeked out and scratched near the brain pan for some bizarre reason. There was Adam in his garage days earlier. The time that I came over to find him and Stopher hanging out while he very calmly, and deliberately stabbed himself with tweezers, sufficiently to drag chunks of meat out, repeatedly, and all over. I was curious why, to which I was very politely informed that he had removed the worm’s head and was only looking for its tail now.
I couldn’t stand Adam, and I was pretty certain that he couldn’t stand me. I was able to use his house/garage periodically, but only through my affiliation with Stopher, Pockets, and Riff Raff – the whole “Partners ‘n Krime” crew as I had been informed. PNK as the tags around announced proudly. What we were, in reality, were youthful addicts in the most vicious series of reckless actions and hyperindulgence of meth that I could conceive of at the time. We all hated each other to some degree – the others had known each other growing up though. I had only become affiliated with them through my residence at the teen shelter program where Tyson (formerly known as prior to Pockets coming to life) and I had been living together.
Stopher’s mom and new boyfriend Dave were omnipresent parties to all the goings on. Between their semi-violent outburst at each other, and our general disgust over the way she would act in front of her own son – we became significantly further disassociated with the normal behavior patterns of others our age. Whether I acted as the final catalyst, or it was just the alignment of the moon and some deep space planetary phenomenon of madness I’ll never know. To describe them each in turn:
Riff Raff, had black and white striped hair typically, with an enormous stick and poke illustration down his arm in jailhouse style stick and poke of a skull riddled needle. He was the oldest of the group, by a few years I believe. Periodically he would disappear swearing himself away from everything and holing up at his moms house until the drive overcame him again. He was a street punk in everyway when he was out, right down to the spikes and groups of associates.
Adam, red haired and somehow able to function sufficiently to perform some nominal construction duties on the regular. A surrogate father figure to his younger brother as his mother was essentially MIA. Had a house, earned money, got spun to shit and wouldn’t mind throwing you out if he got a dislike for you or your drugs ran out.
Pockets, adopted and incredible bitter about it. We lived together at the teen shelter, and related on some weird level. His parents had him living in what seemed like a very nice room private from the rest of the house – and when I met them I couldn’t believe how much they seemed to care and genuinely love him despite the spurn he heaped on them. Even at first into, he was the most reckless of the group and my closest partner when insanity struck.
When I needed a getaway driver from pulling grab and go’s – Tyson was there. When I decided we were going to do a body count and see how many people we could leave in hospitals and crazy on the streets, he was there. Eventually he adopted “Pockets” as a name after getting pegged as the most likely candidate for thievery from multiple individuals. He did have a tendency to pocket things virtually everywhere – and we did enjoy quite a bit of time popping in and out of cars together. In later times, he was arrested for nailing a cat to the ground and setting it on fire after painting it red, white, and blue.
He understood the crazy inside me, and was there the first time I had a psychotic break and was convinced the whole world was firing me. He was also there on my longest run and stood by when I was sold away. He was there when we decided that we were both dead because the blood pressure cuff at the store hadn’t registered anything and it suddenly made sense to go into the hospital to see if we could get them to verify we were alive. He was there when we almost took the opportunity to run a cook house for a trucker we randomly met and bought crank from.
Way further down the line I heard he had his head bashed in with a hammer on the tracks outside Eugene, had a plate put in, got married to a girl he ran away to live on Market St. San Francisco with, had a kid, was declared insane, and may have declared himself to be Osama bin Laden at the airport in Portland.
Stopher had been the glue originally as I understood it. But with the decline of his mother, the divorce which resulted from her screwing one of his friends, and the live in arrangement in the dual twin beds he and has father resided in at his grandparent’s house – he had both lost drive for the madness, and his ability to tie everyone together prior to my arrival. His father was a raging alcoholic, and had a tendency to both thrash and assume statuesque locked positions mid-sleep that were moderately grotesque in their clearly uncomfortable arrangements.
Stopher was smart, but cooked.
For whatever reason, they became my go-to group. When I stole the stacks of leather jackets and distributed them to the group, it was like I had finally found a clique that might stand through events together.
Of course that is impossible when you bury yourself in crystal.
Pockets became more of a frenemy than anything, Stopher retreated further and further away as he saw me going deeper and deeper, Adam and I eventually just dropped communication after the twins came over and all their mind numbing hateful personalities – Riff helped me string together introductions to some bigger players around town, until it became abundantly clear that I was a marked and hot car.
One of those individuals, Bomber, introduced me to hot rails. After one such blast off, I somehow acquired a large burn blister on my thumbtip. Using a slash with a knife, I managed to chop it straight in half along with a large chunk of the pad until fat was oozing out. Superglue, duct tape, and off and running. That gentleman commandeered my Tercel, declaring it a pirate vessel and brought me into conversations with a group of hardened folks I simply wasn’t able to mentally handle so many days up. When we returned back to the house, it was being spotlighted with one of those Million Candle handhelds from a minivan.
Thought he was going to kill me.
Let the paranoia sink in, because it’s not paranoia if they really are chasing you.
And so I would profess to anyone who cared to doubt my sentiments about being followed.
“Get in my car and ride for 30 minutes – you tell me.”
Just like years later, it became that no one, not from PNK or otherwise, could or would spend time with me. Dealing with the weeks awake, the psychoses, the lack of hygiene, and the consuming obsession with just getting higher and higher was proving to be far too much.