I didn’t have to see the face of everyone in the room to know that not one of them believed me. After catching a reflection of the thin, sickly thing I’d become, neither did I. I had dragged her body from my bed all the way to the bathroom alone. But with all the looks everyone gave me, it seemed as if they’d already labeled me as a typical, lying, piece-of-shit junkie—especially after revealing that I hadn’t given her any drugs. Not to mention, there wasn’t any clear sign of there being anyone else with us.
They put every piece of paraphernalia they could find on the coffee table—two used syringes and two bags of water balloons. My heart skipped a beat at that; they found hundreds of rigs and multiple blackened spoons with sticky brown residue on them. Not to mention, the millions of used cotton swabs I’d saved for when I was ever sick. But no, that was all they found.
As for other people being involved, only I knew who had been there the night before. Although, I’d blacked out that night and still can’t remember ever calling 911 after finding her, I remember who was with us. And out of the four people in the apartment, there was only one sick, manipulative person who would have given her the drug responsible for taking her life—my roommate and heroin dealer. A friend had introduced me to him as Dante.
Before, I’d never met Dante, however I had heard of him. The infamous Dante, known throughout Austin, supplied the Drag Rats, a. k. a. the homeless kids who lived around the University of Texas’ west campus, along Guadalupe, also known as “The Drag.”
My previous heroin dealer, Josie, had wound up losing her apartment, but not before she tried to pawn that too, after all her furniture.
A year before meeting Dante, a friend introduced me to Josie in the parking lot outside of her apartment on a cool night in November. The dying artificial light of a street lamp obscured the cloudy night sky. I could see her soft, pale face was clean and smooth, void of any pop marks from picking one would find on the face of any typical junkie. Once connected with her thin almond blue eyes, I initially thought she was only a dealer and not a user.
Around her face, blonde wavy locks fell flat past her bare shoulders under the white strings of her bikini top tied around her neck. When she wasn’t looking my school-boy eyes followed the flow of hair down and over her petite yet shapely breast, denying access to any horny pervert buying dope, as well as trying to get a quick peek. From there, near where her hair ended, she wore a belly button ring. With a hint of light reflecting the faint streetlight, it brought my attention to her flat stomach. I had become infatuated with this Josie and wanted to know everything about her.
Josie was a beautiful, thin, hippie chick who I could see as a high school valedictorian. She had seemed to keep it all together, not only as a functioning junkie, but an ambitious one. She always told me that dealing was just an easy way to make rent while she waits for the fall semester to start at her dream university of …,
Sadly, it didn’t matter. I was there when her moronic boyfriend had come back with something other than black tar—a bag of crystal shards, or Meth. With heroin, she had been digging a hole over a length of time, but after that first shot of meth, that’s when she jumped into the hole, head first.
Josie had a future—had she quit shooting dope—but thanks to her “loving” boyfriend, who would lock himself in the storage closet on the back patio of their apartment (Why? I still don’t know) once fall came around, I didn’t recognize her sparing for change on the highway next to my apartment.
It was hard to see her like that, a walking skeleton wrapped in pale and bruised skin. I was on my way back home to shoot up by myself. As my car pulled up to the red light, I held down the window button. I’d noticed a girl standing there, and that’s it. I didn’t even look up as I dug around my pocket for a dollar, nor when I handed it to her.
I started to roll the window up but when it was nearly all the way up, I took my finger off the button. After giving a stranger a dollar, I’d normally hear a Thank you or God Bless, but here I heard nothing. I peered out and saw this raggedy homeless girl staring at me. At that point the light turned green. As I let my foot off the brake and gently pressed on the gas, there was a faint, familiar sound that hit my ear—
Although it was at a lower pitch and sounded like it hurt coming out, I still recognized the voice. My foot slammed back down on the brake. Without time to wait on an automatic window, I opened the door to stick my head out and was taken aback at the sight.
“Oh my God.”
The last time I’d seen Josie, I couldn’t take it anymore—seeing her live in that insanity of a life. It wasn’t just her either; I literally could not be in that apartment for longer than I could hold my smoky breath. I could always tell in what sort of mood she would be with the way her place looked. If it was clean—clean for a dope house—and vacuumed, then I’d know she was high and happy. It was a good time. However, on those other “dopeless” days, there was no happiness.
On those days, the moment they’d open the door, it would hit me. A blast of either warm or cool air would smack me in the face, reeking as if a vent had trapped air inside it for years and would cut itself loose just to stage dive straight into my nose. Even if I kept my head down, my eyes would then become violated. Orange caps, syringes, dirty spoons, and burned cigarette filters littered the floor that looked like the black pockmarks of a meth head’s face from the burned cigarette holes in the carpet.
There would be no sitting down and chilling on those days. Not even to do a quick shot. There was no way I’d expose my bare, sweaty pores to the toxic cesspool of hep-C and tweak.
But the last time I’d gone inside the apartment to score was ultimately the worst.
The second I walked inside, I could smell that someone had stepped in doggy-doo-doo. Josie and her boyfriend kept going in-and-out of their bathroom. This wouldn’t be anything I’d care about, but it became a problem because they still hadn’t given me the door.
Josie came out and began looking around for something in the kitchen. I saw this as a way to speed things up, so I stood behind her yapping about a time when I’d been disgustingly sick from withdrawal. Talking to her, I naturally followed her in, but she slammed the door right in my face, apologizing.
As they were doing whatever in there, I took up a spot on the living room floor and waited. The smell lingered and seemed to grow stronger with each passing minute. I wasn’t any genius by any means, so the realization that they had never owned a dog snuck up on me later.
It was about nine in the morning and I hadn’t had a morning shot. The last one I’d taken had been about eight hours ago. Withdrawal was setting in, raising my anxiety to levels unheard of to the normal person. After begging them to please hurry and them repeatedly telling me “Just one more minute!,” I couldn’t take it any longer.
They hadn’t locked the bathroom door which was surprising, but as soon as that door swung open—I became a witness to something no human should ever see.
Josie would walk around the Drag selling all the kids dope. Sometimes that area can be pretty “hot,” meaning: loaded with cops and under-covers. So, she had the genius idea of keeping the ziplock bag full of balloons hidden up in her lady part. Josie was very sprightly and loved to dance, and everyone loved to watch her dance. If she bounced around hard enough, little colored balls would appear underneath her. These being the balloons of twenty bucks of heroin.
However, while walking up and down Guadalupe, Josie’s incessant ego would get the best of her. She’d yell across streets and walk around with a syringe behind her ear, like one would with a pencil. One day, meth got the best of her. I’m not sure if an undercover agent had really followed them like they’d said, because with the amount of meth they were shooting a day, psychosis would always be right around the next corner. In which case, I believe this was.
Trying to be cool and smooth about it, they slowly swallowed I don’t know how many balloons. And lucky me, showed up on the morning of evacuation.
After swinging the door open, I saw her boyfriend on his gloved hands and bare knees sifting through mounds of their own shit. The smell was unbearable. It sent me out the front door to do my evacuation.
Once I’d gotten ahold of myself, Josie was standing right there with a balloon in her hand. I hopped in my car, cooked it up and shot it right there. Deep in the back of my brain, I knew this could have been out of that pile of shit but I shoved those thoughts far away from reaching.
I sat in the car feeling high for a while, listening to music and sitting in the AC. Then, I grew the courage to walk back up to the door and went inside. The smell was still there, but it was overpowered by bleach and cleaning products. Apparently, they had only imagined eating the balloons, because her boyfriend had found them in his pants pocket.
That was the last time I saw those two people.
(To Be Continued…)