NOTE: This piece of short “fiction” depicts graphic drug use. If you are a recovering addict and are easily triggered, DO NOT read this. If you are trapped in addiction and want to quit (whatever the substance, including alcohol or tobacco) you can check here, or here, or here (this is the program I happened to use when I got sober), or here, or you can just Google search “addiction recovery” or something similar. All links open in new tabs/windows.
This is the beginning of a catalog of my own experiences in Downtown Fresno. I don’t know why I started it in the middle like this, but I did. Though the exact events and occurrences are not necessarily true, these scenes are accurate to what my life became while addicted to crack cocaine. Some of the scenes are jumbled in my mind, so the specific flow is not strictly correct. However, these events, in one way or another, did happen to and around me.
If you are an addict, I hope to hear from you and see what you think. Whoever you are and whatever your circumstances are, thanks for reading. May you at least find this interesting.
The man stands there staring at the ground as his girl screams at him. I avert my eyes. This shit is sick. Poor guy has no balls at all. Sure, feminism is great, but that isn’t equality. I can’t stand seeing men just laying down like that. Still, I guess it’s better than laying into the harpy.
As I round the corner onto G I wonder if the man will ever get off the dope. Apparently his habit sparked the explosion of vitriol. I am finding it vaguely amusing that an obvious crackwhore is screaming at her “man” for using too much.
Pushing the scene out of my mind I press on through the chilling wind. It rarely gets really cold in Fresno. Still, February is bitter enough for us California raisins. Probably about 43 degrees out and everyone is bundled up for the day.
I check my phone and curse. It’s already 9:45 A.M. The boys expected me half an hour ago. Quickening my pace, I begin to puff. On the upside, I’ll be warm when I get there.
Looking down Florence St. I see that white Ford Explorer brooding in the dirt lot across from the Gables. The Gables Motel is a hovel. As I turn the corner I confirm the identity of the “Exploder.” It’s definitely Rose’s sugar daddy. No seeing Rose for a while.
Blue, that scandalous bitch, waves from the other end of Florence just past the motel. I dismiss her with a slight wave and flit through the open gate in the chainlink. Doomee says “hey” and I smile.
“Doomee, bro, how ya doin?”
I shake his hand. One of those slide-pound deals where there is no actual shaking involved.
“Not bad, not bad, white boy,” he grunts.
Frowning a bit, “aw, come on now, man. I’m just white boy still? I been ’round for three months now.”
Chuckling and shaking his head, Doomee says, “N’aw, dog, I just can’t ever remember your name.”
Even I laugh at that.
“You like ‘White Chocolate,’ though, yea? I could call ya that,” he adds.
Nodding and forcing away the guffaws I try to get a little more serious. D is a good enough guy as far as Bloods go. More laid back than most of the younger crowd, he looks out for me some. Still, the guy must be only in his early thirties. Short and built like an iron worker Doomee sure looks like bad news. His skin is so dark it’s almost purple.
“Yea, that’s fine. I do like White Chocolate,” I say, “but, names aren’t that important. I got somethin’ for you.”
Doomee’s face goes straight. He turns and waves me into the corner apartment reserved for the manager. In the shadows of the covered hallway between the L shaped buildings, the only part of the motel with shade, we pass through the metal screen.
Once inside, D turns to me and grins.
“Alrigh’, dawg, you got my money then?”
“Aw, shit,” I say, smiling widely, “alright, alright, how much is it again?”
We both know I remember exactly how much I owe.
“Bitch, don’t gimme that shit, its forty an’ you know it!” Doomee says.
I snicker and slap two twenties into his hand.
“Chill, bro, chill. I got you, you know I always got you.”
He laughs a little and turns to the kitchen.
“So whatchu want? I know you ain’t comin’ down here just to pay up,” he said, back turned.
My pulse begins to race again. It always does this when it knows I’m about to score.
“Oh, I dunno, man. What you got? Same as last time?” I say, crinkling my face up slightly.
D turns back around after a tiny scraping noise. He’s holding out his hand. Four shining white rocks sit in the pink of his palm. I lick my lips.
Inside, I’m writhing. Every bit of my body is screaming “BUY IT ALL!” The small part of my rational brain that’s left, is whispering a saner refrain. “No, this is bad for all of us. Don’t waste your money. Get off this stuff.”
As I always do, I punch that tiny voice in the face and pull my wallet out.
“Shit, dog. That looks like good shit this time. Last twenty you gave me on that credit was whack,” I say, smiling.
My voice is still calm, but a little strained. This is the voice I hate to hear coming out of my mouth. It’s the addict’s voice. The drop of adrenalin pumping through me says it doesn’t matter. Still, I know that voice. Every dope fiend has it and every dealer knows it.
“Yea, dawg. Waddn’t no good that day. Don’ matter though, this is some cream. I watched Rob cook it, no soda at all,” D says.
I nod. Its bullshit, all crack has some baking soda, but probably not much in this case. Doomee usually gives it to me straight. Besides, I’ve been buying rock long enough to know that the little air holes in this stuff means it’s some good.
“Sick, man. What you askin’ for all of it?”
Doomee looks down and fingers a couple of the pieces. Rolling them over and feeling the weight he looks back up.
“This is dry and its real, White Chocolate. Gimme sixty, its worth eighty, but you always come through,” he says.
I smile, swipe the bills out of my deteriorating wallet, and shake his unoccupied hand with them. D tilts his hand and pours the big rocks into a plastic baggy.
“Thanks, D. This looks awesome. It alright if I step next door with Uncle Armin and hit this shit?”
I always ask. Sometimes Rob doesn’t like me hanging around too much. He’s the boss man ’round the Gables. Doomee shakes his head to show its alright if I stay for now. The younger guys all like me a lot. I guess Rob isn’t too fond of me for some reason. Probably doesn’t want a white boy standing around lookin’ stupid with no money. That’s what I was a couple of times.
After we shake hands and say our goodbyes I slide out the screen door. A breeze frisks me down as I round the corner in the shorter side of the L.
“Hey, Uncle! You there?” I say through the door as I knock on the red, peeling paint.
I hear shuffling from inside and the door pulls open.
“Oh, its you. Yea, I’m here, White Chocolate. Come on in!”
I walk into the little motel room. Armin gestures to the couch and I sit. The thin crescent around his shining dome always makes me smile. This guy is older than most of the people here at the Gables. He sits down in a chair to my left and looks at me then at the table.
Following his gaze, I see a pipe and some crumbs in a clean ash tray. With that little look of his, he’s asking if I brought some favors. I pull a rock out of my pocket and twist the bag back up without revealing how much I have left.
Uncle’s eyes widen a bit and he smiles.
“Damn, son, you got some cream there, huh?” he asks.
Chuckling, I say, “only the best, Uncle. Got a razor? Oh, nevermind, it’s here.”
I pull my own, clean pipe out and set it next to the cracked, blacked one on the table. Cutting four pieces off the large hunk of dope, I pass one to Armin. He loads his pipe and looks around for a Bic.
The lighter flashes into my hand from my jacket pocket and I pass it. Loading my own rock onto the brillo in the pipe, I breathe in relief and get another lighter.
Holding the pipes up toward the ceiling we nod to each other. Our lighters flick on and we begin to melt the pieces into the brass puffs of brillo. That familiar sizzling noise greets me and I wink at Uncle. Thin, tiny wisps of smoke waft up from the two pipes. We both turn the horns to get an even melt.
When that’s done we lift the pipes to our lips. They stick out, horizontal now, and we flick the Bics again. The tip of the flame hovers slightly below and forward of the barely quivering pipe-tip.
I begin to inhale through the pipe. Smooth and deep and the flame is sucked onto the brillo inside my piece. That crackle starts immediately and pure white smoke shoots into my mouth. I take a big hit. After about ten seconds of twisting the pipe and moving the flame to varying distances from the pipe I stop.
This is the best part for me. Holding the smoke in until I see spots and that ringing starts in my ears. It will hit hard when I breath out, for now I just sit back on the couch and look to Uncle. He’s already breathing out a thin cloud of smoke. I nod and he gives me an approving look. That buttery taste hangs in my throat.
My breath explodes with dopesmoke and I am rocketed skyward as the ringing begins in my ears.