My mom is definitely cool.
While she may embarrass me on occasion—like DJ’ing my fifth grade Sock Hop dressed like Rizzo from Grease—her heart is always in the right place. Definitely where it was when she came out of her bathroom with a tiny rig in her hand. It was half the size of the normal ones I use. It was likely my dad’s, whom suffers from diabetes, and must’ve fallen into her stuff when she moved out. It was like having a ‘get out of jail’ card from Monopoly; a life saver.
The expression on her face said it all. Handing the never-used syringe to me, while I grabbed it and ran immediately to the bathroom, must’ve been one of the hardest things to do. It makes me feel so selfish and unappreciative, thinking about the havoc and hell I had put her through.
But at this second, while I’m sitting on the cold tile, cooking up what’s left of my dope, I can’t think of anything but making sure I didn’t fuck this shot up. There was no time for carelessness. Pure and stock-still concentration, even though my hands were shaking so hard I didn’t need to stir the dope. My shaking helped break the drug down in the spoon, while I’m heating the underside with my lighter. I can hear my mom crying softly to herself outside.
I’m such a terrible son…
Now that I had it cooked and stirred, I threw a ball of cotton in and put the tiny needle on top of it. Sucking it up, slowly, I was thinking of where on my arm would be a good spot to strike. By this time, all my veins were shot, overused and collapsed.
This is one of the most agitating parts of being a junky, finding a vein while dope sick, with the anticipation tickling you to death. Just knowing this one shot will make every bit of pain and illness go away. Like Tylenol, multiplied by a thousand.
At first I hovered over my go-to veins, like the cephalic vein running along the inner side of my forearm (as a junky, you begin to learn the different names of veins and where they’re located) and the veins on the top of my hand. The hands normally work well, but hurt like hell if you miss.
This rig was about the size of a pencil that’s been sharpened down past its halfway mark. The needle is as long as my pinky fingernail. The width of the needle was something I had never seen before. It was smaller than the usual ones I usually use, so if I hit a vein, I’d have to nail it, straightaway. If blood registers—enters the syringe—and sits for too long, my blood will coagulate and clog it. Then I’d be in trouble. I know ways of fixing that, but it would take a long time, which I didn’t have. Trying to be a “smart” junky (I know that sounds like an oxymoron), I take Iron supplements to help prevent this from happening.
No veins were showing, even with my belt acting as a tourniquet. It’s a game of hide-n-seek with them, I swear. The minute they see the needle, they run and hide, after telling all their friends. The only ones I can see are the itty-bitty ones on the inside of my wrist. I’d never used them before because the needles I ordinarily use were too big for them. But with this “fun-size” syringe, I could possibly do it.
It actually hurt a little bit sticking it in, which took me by surprise because with a clean—never been used—rig, it’s usually painless. Nonetheless, it still slid in as smoothly as a paper cut. I pull back the plunger letting in an empty space in the chamber for blood to slip in. I pulled the needle backward just slightly to where it was halfway in. There it was.
A bright crimson shot through the stale coffee-looking liquid, turning it a dark ink. I exhale in relief, then begin to untie my broken down belt. Without even a short countdown, I push down on the plunger. I can see the liquid fill my vein as it starts to protrude my skin. Growing. I slam it all.
So I sit and wait…