Introduction/Prologue

dope /dōp/

noun

def.- 1. a drug taken illegally for recreational purposes, especially marijuana or heroin

2. (slang) people who do not do drugs call Marijuana dope

3. (slang) people who do Marijuana call Heroin dope

co-de-pen-den-cy /kōdē pēndēnsé/

noun

def. 1. Excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically a partner who requires support due to an illness or addiction

Prologue

September 2009

I need help.

After a brief glance toward my past, anyone can see this. I’ve drunk enough alcohol to last a lifetime and have done enough dope to kill that life a thousand times over. Though, the strongest drug befitting for me, as an addict, is another human being.

For many people it’s hard to admit, but I have dug myself a hole so deep, I can’t get myself out. I didn’t come into this world with the appropriate underground spelunking gear, I assume; thus, I am stuck in a helpless state. And somehow I become more reckless and dig myself deeper, hoping someone will toss me a rope. However, I don’t carry the strength to pull myself out; thus, all I can do is scream, “I need help!”

I live haunted by these three words.

They pursue me, along with my thin shadow outstretched in the afternoon sun.

But as my shadow fades away in the afterglow of the day, they still loom. Lurking behind me on my search for a quick and gratifying escape, led by my heartless, addictive personality.

I sneak a Camel cigarette out of my left pant pocket—never pulling out the whole pack, so others don’t bother asking me for one. I light it up, and roll down my car window, allowing sun rays to pour through, making my skin a painful white.

Cigarette smoke fills the car, as well as the yearning void inside me, replacing my fuming jealousy and envy, with synthetic pleasure.

it’s a temporary fix for my everlasting struggle against thine own self.

I’d fallen head first for this fix. Any fix. Anything that prevents me from feeling this grudging resentment dwelling inside of me.

Why do I fall in love with things that kill me?

This hole in my nearly-dead spirit likely developed from being without love—or being oblivious to it.

Yet, I do possess much love inside—I wish others could see—none of which belongs to the pathetic boy that is me. A mere boy in a man’s body.

How can a boy, who came from such a loving family—such a great childhood—begin to build such hatred toward himself ?

It had simply become apparent one day. All of the sudden, I had felt different from everybody else. What used to be my normal vibrations were now amiss.

I had no voice; well, not one my peers would adhere to.

But then I had found my elixir—my fix—which helped alleviate any personal or social-insecurities that had owned me.

Once and for all, I was living comfortably within myself. Until eventually, without paying attention, it had started to kill me.

I couldn’t stop the incessant third degree: Why did this happen to me? What did I do?

I had just wanted to be like everyone else.
To be comfortable existing in my own skin.
To be liked and loved by everyone else.
Now, since I had become an addict to these poisons, I can add, not having to rely on drugs or alcohol to be happy.

Wearing the straight-faced mask I carry every day, hiding what I truly feel—

I blow the smoke out, knowing nobody knows what lives inside of me.

_________________________________

While driving, I’m also watching all the different people around me and I can’t help but envy them.

Why can’t I be normal, like them?

I loathe being an addict.

Right now, it’s almost three in the afternoon. I’m headed back home from the world’s greatest apartment store. No, not Wal-Mart, but its eternal, crimson nemesis, Target.

Just like gangs are at war with the bloods and crips, there is a war in the white-collar business world. The Wal-Marter’s and the Targeter’s.

I represent the red flag.

I come to Target just about every other day, particularly to buy my pink Vitamin Water and powdered donuts. These two things I could easily get at the gas station two blocks down from my apartment, but I enjoy the drive.

I live in a quaint one-bed, one-bath apartment located in, what is considered, the central part of Austin, TX. It’s actually perfect for my neurotic, hermit self. I used to be somewhat social and would have people over, but once the drugs became my sole reason to live, I became a lonely, depressed homebody. Plus, it’s a few miles from the nearest Target.

I was born and raised in Austin, the live music capital of the world and its surrounding towns. With its many live shows, come many bands, and strung-out musicians. That’s me, where I fall into. I’m just another one of Austin’s junky musicians walking around The Drag trying to cop some dope. At least I have my own place and my own car—thanks to my loving parents—so I don’t have to walk everywhere, like the other “Drag Rats” who don’t have the luxury of driving to Target for food after scoring and shooting some dope.

I don’t know what it is that brings me to this store, other than the pink Vitamin Water and bag of snow-powdered donuts. It’s not the awful smell of commerce or fluorescent light shining down on my already pale skin. It could be the red taste of the store’s infamous primary color that I always find in the strawberry soda I drink regularly, while browsing. So tasty.

Sound weird?

That’s on account of me being aware of everything around me, at the moment.

Right now, I’m experiencing what’s known as being dope sick. After abusing heroin, or any opiate, for more than a few days and then stop, your body will go into withdrawal. It’s like a much more powerful version of the Flu, which can last for a week. Also, your sensitivity becomes heightened. It’s progressive the first three days, meaning, the third day is the worst, then starts to dissipate after that. I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy. It’s only the first day of it, though. For now, I feel ill and can sense everything in weird ways. Like my senses have been turned up tremendously.

Sure, I’m becoming sicker by the hour, but I’m quite used to it; at least, the first day’s sickness. Normally, I’d have a shot ready for me when I wake up, but I either couldn’t find it or had done it the night before. Like they say about breakfast, the morning shot is the most important one of the day. It gets you out of bed and keeps you feeling alright while you go out in search of your next one.

I believe every genuine junky is, or should be used to this first-day sickness. If they’re not, then they’re probably still in the “amateur” phase. No offense, to those idiots who want to be considered hardcore, genuine junkies. They do exist. I know my fellow junkies would agree with me here. I need to head back to my apartment to see if my asshole roommate has come back. He’ll fix me right up.

I knew he would be home. He told me he would be right back when he woke me up.
I was woken up with the beautiful Brianna lying next to me. She is a colorful creature, who could sleep as long as I could.

I love it.

I love her.

She’s my best friend; my wingman; my partner in crime.

I had left her sleeping in my bed while I took off to get my breakfast of donuts and flavored water. So, when I came back, I expected her to be awake—it was already going to be 3 pm. But we did get crazy night last night, from what I remember.

I arrive back at my place a little after 3 in the afternoon and find Brianna still sleeping in my room.

“Geez girl, come on. Time to wake up.”

I need her to wake up and leave, so when my roommate comes back, I can shoot up and have this sickness taken away. There’s no way she can know I’ve been shooting dope. It’s been tough keeping it a secret when she lives in the same complex, two flights up.

“Wake up, Bri—.”

Nothing.

“Hmm,” I wonder aloud.

I find it odd her still lying in the same position: on the right side of the bed, on her stomach, with her head facing the left.

She also doesn’t look like her normal self, as if she had a fraternal twin trade places with her in the night. Something seems off. Although, she is still in the same glitzy clothes she had on the night before, leading me to guess we didn’t have sex. That’s probably a good thing though, since it almost invariably seems to screw things up between friends. However, I’m not saying it never happened—

When we go out, we are each other’s wingman—I help her get a date while she helps me, and if we are both unsuccessful, we hook up with each other. Not a bad deal.

I would never date her though. If anything were to happen and we broke up, I would be devastated. I’d never risk losing my best friend in the world.

She is the type of person who spends hours getting ready whenever we went out. She is the definition of “fabulous,” and always makes a strong, glamorous entrance, letting everybody at the party or club know she has arrived. I cling to her at these places; she breathes spirit into the party so we always have a raving time together.

I walk over to the side of the queen-sized bed. She looks like a queen underneath my cotton covers. Though, I am no king. Far from it.

I gently shake her left shoulder.

“Brianna,” I whisper.

I glide my finger along the side of her face.

It’s ice cold.

My stomach sinks. Heart stops. Everything in the room, my apartment, the world, comes to a halt.

I put the side of my face in front of hers as if she were telling me a secret. But no words come out.

Not even a warm breath.

My heart comes back to life, pumping at an alarming rate. I take the same hand I used to shake her shoulder and flip her listless body over.

I gag and choke on air as I stare in horror at the dark purple splotches spread across the entire right side of her face she was laying on. With both hands, I palm her ears and shake her gently.

“Wake up. Wake up sweetie.” This isn’t happening. “Wake up!!!”

A flow of blood surges up to my head as I draw myself up off the bathroom floor. I nearly make myself sick moving her body to the bathroom, thinking the shower might wake her.

My muscles give out from carrying her and I become dizzy. This can’t be happening. My best friend is lying lifeless on my bathroom floor, her ashen face, colder than the unkempt linoleum she lay upon.

There are two bodies here, but only one heartbeat.

I don’t have any dope in my system; I should be sicker than hell, but the shock must be masking it for me to somehow manage this nightmare.

I know in situations like this, time is of the essence. It’s a life or death circumstance, unless, of course, she has already passed, which is despairingly likely.
My apartment now feels like a revolting realm of misery and malady.

The smell of death lingers.

Her Gucci and Louis Vuitton purses tended to be huge, gaudy bags that would likely fit my entire wardrobe making them visible.

I quickly found behind my stained sofa. Easy to find, since it lived in the heart of the living room, or the “Boom-Boom Room,” as it tends to be after hours. And open it to find the bright-orange prescription bottle, where she carries her stash. I pop open the pale, child-proof cap with ease to discover broken bits of Xanax.

Oh God no.

My stomach sinks to its lowest depths as the shock start to dissipate. Reality starts physically kicking in. A wave of nausea twists my stomach, among another wave of vertigo.

I need a shot, Now!

How did this happen? The dusty light bulb in my mind—I thought was broken—ignited once more, which nauseates me even more. I crouch down at the open toilet as I start to heave. It’s more like drowning on air—I haven’t eaten in days. There is only a few burning bits of bile. After a minute, I stand up slowly to confront myself in the mirror and scream out loud.

Snot is running down to my chin, mixing with the salty tears pouring from my damp, ghoulish eyes. I’ll never forget the saline taste, nor the piercing pain. I can’t tell if the pain is from the sickness or from the invisible knife twisting slowly into my chest, murdering my soul.

That bastard better not have shot her up.

I’ve known for a long time, and had even cautioned others, to never, ever mix pills with other drugs, especially this certain sort of mixture. For a normal person, or even an amateur drug addict—both unlike me—it is invariably a lethal combination when you combine Xanax with her…the other love of my life—

…heroin.

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