That’s right. Things feel like a CD skipping sometimes. I have to check things more often than I’d like. I worked hard on a construction site the last couple of weeks and with the first whiff of a pay-cheque I went and bought me a sizeable amount of drugs. The weekend is a blur, needless to say.
I was doing well, I tell myself. And so do others. What the fuck do they know. They aren’t here; with me. They are far away, and they don’t know what it’s like. They don’t know the cupboard full of needles, blood and shattered dreams of self-esteem: the iron-maiden that I locked my spirit in long ago.
Some people can shove their darkest secrets down, down and forget them.
Mine manifest into the unsure, unstable dream of reality I share with the world. I mark the scars on my body. I pay the price in blood for every sin. Don’t worry, I have no messianic delusions. I was always more of a “Better to reign in Hell…” kinda guy.
I forgot why I did it for a while. I f-f-f-forget why I do a lot of things. But why the gear? Oh, yeah. It works. Every time, it works. Every time you shoot heroin, assuming your little-gangster-wannabee-dealer hasn’t burned you, you don’t need anything else. You are free of your responsibilities to your body:
Don’t eat, or excrete, and your heart barely beats.
Ah, yes, free from that hideous addiction thrust on us at birth – eating. It always pissed me off that with all this fucking technology they still haven’t come up with a pill that gives us all our nutritional needs in a daily tablet. Then surely the joy of eating is freed from need, obesity eliminated, and world hunger forgotten, no?
I’ll have to stick with gear for now.
It leaves you surprisingly free to do other things… Strange and dark things; dreamlike, wondrous things; underworld things, and nocturnal things; social and sexual things…
The downside, of course, is that those natural drives you’ve escaped from kind of lead you to a natural place in society.
Case study – Thom is not a Junkie.
“Hmmm, I feel like eating, shitting, sleeping in a warm house, and fucking my girlfriend today. I’d better go to work and earn some trust paper.”
Seb is a Junkie
“Fuck I need some gear before I start to feel ill. Then I might think about earning money, sleeping, fucking and having somewhere to live. Mind you, the price of this medication which alleviates my mental and physical symptoms of depression, introversion, and self-loathing, before we even think about withdrawals, is sky-high, and it isn’t available in a safe and reliable format, like, say, Insulin.
I have to wait for my dealer to be up.
I could be standing here waiting for hours; and I will wait. If I’m late for work, in my girlfriend’s car on route to pick her up, due anywhere in fact, I will put it off and put it off, waiting and waiting for the man with my fix to come.
I will hate and curse this dealer who may well have forgotten I’m standing waiting for him, may be rolling a joint, talking to a mate, or may be legitimately late for some reason. Dealers exist in the Junky’s mind in a kind of quantum duality: wave and particle, they are spat-upon and saviour. While waiting for the dealer, no insult, derogatory statement, not the harshest, bigoted generalisation will be expurgated, rolling easily off the lips of even the educated and enlightened. All the hate, frustration and bile in the world is poured upon this character, guilty of nothing more, really, than poor customer service.
Then, like the burning, sapphire chariot, vision of God that appears to Ezekiel, a car heaves into view or a man walks round the corner and, suddenly, all is forgiven. He is beautiful, radiant, the anointed one, sent to free you of your mortal sin, bringing with him the kingdom of Heaven, wrapped in tiny, Rizla paper packets. Stabbed with relief you murmur, “Alright mate, two yeah?”
“Yeah, bruv. What’s hap’nin’, you cool, yeah?”
This is not a genuine inquiry of your status; it is to convince anyone watching that it is an exchange of words and friendship being conducted, not a black-market one. No one really cares for anyone else in that world. Does anyone really care for anyone else? It’s a nasty question to consider because, often, the evidence “For” is gray, fuzzy, and rooted in mutable concepts like Faith, Morality, Ethics, Hope, Family, Love and Spirit. On the other side of the scale is placed a large, metal-looking, solid and opaque body-of-evidence, drawing on such solid-sounding concepts as Science, Empirical Study, Statistics, Genes, Survival, Instinct and YouTube. Watch as blind Justice leans, teeters, struggles, but ultimately topples headlong over the cliffs of Human Denial.
People ask me why I don’t clean up my surroundings: why I keep a huge pile of bloody needles and spoons, citric and heroin wrappers, smashed bottles of sterile water, in a storage cupboard which could very well be used to house the clothes that live on my floor. Junkies like to create a hierarchy; a pyramid of points on the drug user’s wall in his head with a little mark on it saying “There is the point I will not go beyond.” For instance, many party-going people of my generation will have Ecstasy, Speed, Ketamine, and Cocaine above Crack and Heroin. Many Crack users will look down on Heroin addicts thinking dirty fuckin’ Skag-head cunts while blazing away on their pipes, stalking their houses with loaded crossbows and assorted other weapons, peeking out the window, sure that their drug habit is so important to the CID and MI5 that, any moment, any tiny noise, is the cops coming to storm the place and arrest them. And when the last Rock has been smoked they will happily kneel on the floor with their nose to the carpet, arse in the air, searching for any tiny, white crumb, however dubious, however microscopic, however plastic, and try to smoke it. Still, if they want to think they’re somehow better than us that’s fine.
The Point is always arbitrary: given long enough, assuming one doesn’t address the issues causing the problem, one will always go past the Point. And let me point something else out: – if not getting the latest pair of Nike trainers, mobile phone, Gucci handbag etc. made you ill, you would lie, steal, cheat and whatever else to get it. In fact, I have seen the exact same behaviours in people addicted to shopping and people addicted to drugs; the same will to destroy one’s stability, bank-balance, relationships and self-esteem. The line is thin, I assure you. As the maxim states – Civilisation is only ever three meals away from collapse. Just as class and status are illusory, equally, no state of addiction and spiritual emptiness is any better than another. Perhaps, in some ways, I was lucky when I decided, at around 14 or 15, that I was gonna do Heroin at some point. Perhaps I saved myself an awful lot of posturing bullshit and weak denial. Straight for the jugular.
The hierarchy exists in sub-category as well. I’m pretty much at the bottom, being an injecting Heroin user, and being a user who can’t be fucked to clean up his dirty works, I theoretically only rank above the guys who are homeless, dirty, aggressively rude in their begging the public for money, and are generally ignorant and offensive. The fact that I’m employable, educated, cultured and creative counts for little; as I said, there is little difference between addicts. I have done things my middle-class family have been shocked at. Myself, I always just saw it as a voyage of experience. I guess there were things I was not proud of, and certainly things I felt guilty about, but I never really set myself a Point until I’d been past it and decided Hmm, don’t wanna go there again. Blake said it best when he said “You never know what is enough, unless you know what is more than enough…”
But why the cupboard of needles? It reflects how I feel. Sure, I only show it to my little room, my little piece of the world – and anyone friends with me unfortunate enough to stay in my room while I shoot – but I suppose it’s my way of not deluding myself, not forgetting that I’m one fucked-up Smackhead. And, maybe, a lot of people have a cupboard like mine, secreted away behind a dark door in their mind, and as long as they keep that door closed they appear to the rest of the world as a good, upstanding, waxwork pillar of the broken and fraudulent community in which they live. As I said, I wear my scars, and I’m not afraid of myself, and while I may be full of contradiction – narcissistically self loathing, ignorantly intelligent, cassandrionic and narrow-minded, and a truth-seeking liar – I can look in the mirror and see who I am…
One fucked-up Junk-junk-Ju-Ju–Ju—zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz