Olivia said that helping Jack move into our apartment building was one of the best things we ever did. When she said it I totally agreed with her. Jack was in his 40’s, but he was 6’3” and built like a semi-truck. He was big, mean, and dumb. But, what he lacked in intelligence and common sense, he had in the delusional psychotic rampage department. If he had heroin or xanax, then usually everything was okay. But if he didn’t have heroin, he would supplement with literally anything. Coke, meth, alcohol, it didn’t matter to him. And the uppers are what brought out his crazies. I watched him stare into a fan like it was the depths of hell; then he proceeded to step back, pull up his pants as if he was going to get into a fist fight, and yell at the fan, “What’s up? Wanna go outside, motherfucker?!”
Jack and I met when I was 14. My mom had brought him home from the bar to have sex, and when she was done she sent him down to the basement [my bedroom]. I guess he asked if she could get him some weed, and she told him to ‘go downstairs and ask my son’. Of course, I did, and we smoked. Him and my mom dated for a few months, and he disappeared from my life until just a few months prior to my 21st birthday.
I fell asleep watching the sun rise. I had spent the previous day and night celebrating my 21st birthday with the usual black tar heroin and crystal meth. Selling black and clear to pay for black and clear to sell more black and clear. And so on. and so on. The same cycle that so many addicts are trapped in. In all honesty, as I watched the sun rise and did my black shot of syrup, I was more or less content.
I had been sleeping for a long time, because it was pitch black outside. Somebody was knocking on the door of my apartment, in a succession of three’s, over and over and over and over and over again. Hardly able to open one eye, I asked Olivia to get it, since she was already up. With the door open, the hallway light sent a monolith into my crypt that illuminated the world that I hated, and Olivia was engulfed in Jack’s massive shadow. I hear him on the phone, “yeah… yeah… I’m walking into his apartment now… Yeah… I know, I’m sorry.”
I asked him what in the fuck he was doing and why the fuck he was there; but he just shoved his phone into my face and said it was my mother. Awestruck, I rubbed my eyes and held the flip phone to my face with my shoulder while I hit the foil a couple of times. ‘Bitch, I don’t give a fuck. I’m sick. You’re waiting.’ I could hear my mother on the other end, sniffling. ‘It must be cold out there.’
My mother and I hadn’t talked since I left my bride at the altar, almost 3 years earlier. It had been even longer than that since Jack and her had spoken. But what really struck a chord in me was, ‘how in the fuck did she know that Jack and I were living in the same building?’
“Hello,” she said, “Are you there?” She said my name, and I confirmed my presence.
“Your father,” she started to sob, “he killed himself. He’s dead.”
I was stunned. The only thing that I could muster up to say was, “you’re kidding,” but I knew she wasn’t. Why would my mother joke about something so horrid? She wouldn’t. She didn’t. He did.
For a moment I was speechless, so I just asked what happened. She didn’t know, but she didn’t want to tell me that. She had confidence in her answer, but I knew she was lying. I always knew. She had been trying to get ahold of me all day. It happened on my birthday, but my mom didn’t want to ruin my birthday; as if every birthday for the rest of my life won’t be tainted by my father’s death.
I swallowed that painful and bulky bag of dick’s; and the heartache slowly slithered its way down my throat. I flipped Jack’s phone shut while my mom was mid-sentence. A lack of boundaries promotes a lack of respect. I shoved Jack’s phone into his chest and bitched him out for waking me up. I suppose I was probably in shock; isn’t that what “they” say?
Once the apartment was finally quiet, I grabbed my “Stab-Bag” with my rigs, cooker, and cottons; and began making breakfast. Or dinner. I didn’t care. Slowly, almost methodically, I loaded my cooker. A part of me just wanted to stew in my misery. I knew the second I pushed the plunger, I would be completely unable to feel anything. After a few minutes of silence, Olivia’s voice became audible from the corner with the bed. “Are you ok?” she asked. I ignored her. I knew it wasn’t her fault, and she just wanted me to be ok, but I wasn’t ok, and telling her that would only spread my misery.
I never was one of those people who wanted company to wallow with me. I guess it’s just the ‘Altruist’ inside of me, but spreading misery never made me happy. I guess that’s why I was never a very good thief.
My shot was finally done. Once the Stab Bag was in my hand, i would just go into auto-pilot; and I just-so-happened to make a shot that would put down a Rhino. Olivia stood up and walked over to me once she realized that I was stalling. The moment she saw the load, she got all crazy. She didn’t shoot up heroin, so it’s not like she had any idea what she was talking about; which I dutifully informed her, in harsher words than I should have. ‘No one is a “stupid gutter-punk cunt” just because they don’t want the person they love to die.’
Something that still bothers me to this day is how little my father truly knew me. ‘Hell, the last time I saw him, I didn’t even know me.’ The only thing I wanted to do before my Rhino Load was find the last picture my Dad and I had taken together. It was taken when I was 18; and getting married to Alison Burke; the country girl who had my daughter.
Alison was the first girl that I met after my mom and I finally moved out of the City. My mom wanted to move out to the country to be closer to my Grandmother (and to avoid paying a Painkiller debt that she owed to some El Salvadoran’s) and after my aunt ended up dismembered on the side of the road, we knew it was time to go. So my mom and I took my cousin, who was two, and headed for the hills.
My great-uncle hired me and spent the summer teaching me painting stucco. Needless to say, I looked good. I had been off drugs (meth and pills, mostly) for about 4 months, I was in great shape; and in the country I stuck out like, “buck-teeth on a Brit”. On the incredibly hot late-September day I met Alison, one could say that the universe was shuffling around the cards; and no one knew it. specially for my ‘too-cocky to be insecure’ ass.
Uncle Pat and I had been hired to do the stucco on my cousin Marilyn’s nail salon. Pat and I were getting ready to wrap up a three-day job on the first day, so I was in a ‘wife-beater’ and bronze as a Greek God. Seemingly out of nowhere, Pat whistles real loud and tells me to come here. He was sitting on his open tailgate talking to two young ladies, who were pretty obviously sisters. Slightly startled to catch my 58-year-old uncle, who’s been married longer than I’ve been alive, giggling with these two young ladies, and whispering in their ear’s and then giggling and giggling and giggling.
“This is my Nephew, the urban one,” ‘Pat said. Fuck, he really just introduced me as his hood-rat nephew.’
“Just because I know people who aren’t white,” I said as I shook their hand’s and glared at Pat. The pretty one was Alison, and her fatter, louder, dumber sister was Dana. The three of us sat in front of the nail salon, talking in Alison’s car, for 5 hours. After that, the only thing would end tearing us apart would be my drug use.
At that time, I was really struggling; trying to find the man who I was meant to become. Ali saw that. She also could see the man that I was trying to become; at times even better than I could. In my mind, she represented me going from a child to a man. I tried so hard, because I thought that her mold for me was what I wanted, or needed.
She got pregnant 2 months after our 1 year anniversary; and we were all excited.
I had so many strange experiences that I thought I would never have; especially growing up as an ‘inner-city white kid’. I would never say that they were prejudice towards me, because honestly they were some of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life. But the fact that I wore baggy pants, and 3X Tall Tees, and said, “wassup” instead of “good morning” made it obvious to everyone around me that we were different. I suppose that’s what I wanted. I deemed it necessary to put a sign on my back that said, ‘You are Type A; I am Type B. We are not the same. We never will be.”
I tried my best to hide my emotion as I asked for Olivia’s phone. My phone was a burner and didn’t have the internet; and the picture I needed was on Facebook. Olivia asked, “What for, beau?” Once again, I failed to hide my feelings by projecting anger and frustration at literally nothing.
I turned around and slammed my left fist into a closet door. The pain in my hand took my mind off of everything else for a sweet solitary second, and the primal desire to destroy something that someone else built crept up. Slowly at first; but it rapidly boiled over, giving me the jarring feeling of drowning.
After three or four good punches, I stood heaving in my underwear amidst small and medium-sized woodchips, and a linen closet without a door. All of the sudden, through my adrenaline rush, I began to feel so light-headed that I immediately got tunnel-vision with spots; and my head, neck and limbs felt like they weighed a half ton. Olivia, who was quietly crying on the bed in the corner, jumped up. The last thing I remember is her calling my name from across the room. She said later that I head butted the floor so hard that it knocked my favorite framed painting I did of HP Lovecraft off the wall.
Regaining consciousness several moments later was a hazy, painful circus of ringing ears and sad snotty sobs. Olivia just held my head like a football while i sobbed phlegm and tears all over the graffitti-covered jeans she was wearing. I suddenly had a moment of genuine clarity~ when I realized my Rhino Load was behind my ear. ‘Pull your self together, bitch-boy.’
“Can I please just see your phone?” I begged. Olivia jumped up and was back with her phone in seconds. As she handed me her phone, I looked up at her; and with my eyes still teary and my voice still weak, I asked her as nice as possible, “Baby; can I please hit your foil?”