I sometimes miss those days where my life was spent in a opiated haze.  I was so oblivious to any other type of lifestyle and the only worries were, who had the best heroin.  I tend to gloss over those nights where I was flipping around in my bed like a fish out of water.  Twisting my body trying to ease my aching muscles, feelings like somebody was trying to drive nails into my calve bones.  That sense of nothingness after cooking up a couple bags to get my sick off and not being able to register a hit in my veins.  My hands trembling as I realize fuck my damn syringe is clogged and I dont have another fresh one.  Taking a lighter to the end of the needle hoping to burn out whatever is blocking the opiated water from entering my bloodstream.

One specific memory pops into my head when I think about clogged shots.  I was copping in Chicago and I was riding the L from the ghetto to Oak Park where it was just ‘easier’ to find a bathroom.  With a robotic rhythm I would shuffle with a quickness to a bookstore and walk straight to the restroom bathroom stall, filling up a glass of water at the drinking fountain if I didnt already have some water on me.  Which was rare unless I was super sick as dope paraphernalia was almost always in my pockets.  Lighter, a cigarette filter, and a pop can ripped in half.  Fingers and/or pants leg smudged in that black soot.  Most of my clothes had drippings of bleach on them as syringes were not sold over the counter than.  My scarred arms can still attest to fact I was stuck using a dull needle to get the job done.  Occasionally I would have to do a little ‘Junky 101’ and wet sand the burr off the tip of the needle using the gritty striker pad on the back of a patch of matches.  Back and forth, up and down, wash out with water, repeat, etc.  The thought of maybe not cleaning out the barrel of the needle all the way was a fleeting thought as it simply did not matter.  Whatever was needed to be done was done.  I wish I still had that insane twisted drive in my life [albeit in a positive manner] as the only thing that was going to stop me from getting high was the police.  Twisting on the concrete floor of some cold holding cell was just not in my plans.  That motivation to get that next hit was an intense feeling and puzzling as I think back on some of the stupid shit I would do.

The only thing standing between 50 units of an ice-tea colored elixir and my vein was usually some foreign substance blocking the needle.  Was it a shitty cut?  I had a few shitty cuts in my day, one of which I still recall scoring that day from the Southside of Chicago CPH buildings [Chicago Public Housing] the bags that day were ‘black spades’.  Big one inch by one inch square little ziplok baggies with black spades on it, [duh!].  Those southside bags you would always get much better dope not to mention bags that were almost twice the size.  That was some fucking good heroin, beige and clumpy.  This was probably 1999 or so a few years after the westside was completely flooded with dope and the quality there started to fall off after a huge influx of young suburban dopefiends started to look like walking or driving dollar signs.

Anyways it must have been an off day that day as the dope was still excellent but what ever they were cutting it with was probably best left to cater to the snorters.  A little residue was left in the cooker, gritty and sludgy.  A couple times I recall pulling a hair out of my head and than patiently using the hair to floss thru the tip of the needle as that was the only thing small enough to fit in there.  That was next to an impossible task to thread the needle as I was usually shaking like a leaf in a spring thunderstorm by that point and steady hands was something I just didnt have.

Thankfully I dont have to deal with that crazy lifestyle anymore.