– The beginning


 

A cold Chicago morning sometime in the early 1990’s, the Eldorado rounded the corner and and parked curb-side idling silently. Steam rising-up thru the storm drains projecting images of bone-chilling weather. The bus stops are just starting to fill up with the low percentage of people that actually work in this neighborhood, bundled up in scarfs, knit hats, and ripped ‘sport team’ coats. Two teenagers pass the time between sales by bullshitting, rolling dice, and hollering at cars. There is excitement in the air as narcotic rush is moments away, the cup of coffes lies sparcely smoking in my cup holder,

“BLOW’S, ROCK’S… PARK”

[backwards shot of an injection speed-up and repeated in a continual loop. Faded to grey, than to static, than to 4 color shot of ‘channel off the air’]

From the time the heroin takes effect Jimmy’s head falls back against the seat and his eyes roll back. The gram of powder lays next to him. Previously it went thru the hands of two 16 yr olds slanging on the corner of Sawyer and 13th. From there it came from the pac-man the man incharge with suppling his districts dope spots with well, dope. Making drops of soft-ball sized baggies of prepacked heroin on the hour.

Traveling back 2 days before that day in a 4 story courtyard walk up on the near north west side, the kitchen window covered in cardboard. On the table sits 4-5 ounces of raw heroin getting processed. Ground up, cut and bagged up.

Rewind…

Those 4-5 ounces of H, came off a chunck broken off a brick (kilo) from Willy ‘Junior’ Butler a Lieutenant runnning one of Chicago’s westsides districts of operations. Junior’s ‘brick’ got passed down from Jonnie ‘Big Boi’ Jenkins one of the unknown leaders of the ‘Mafia Insane ViceLords’. Jonnie has a young runner make a pick up from the west suburb of Oak Park, and hands him the keys to a clean, new 1990 Ford Taurus and tells him its location. In the truck is 25’ish lbs. of heroin that will feed the junkies of the city for a short time. The keys [to the car] were handed to ‘Big Boi’ thru one of Sammy Carlisi’s associates [Son of the late once leader of the Chicago syndacate “The Outfit’]. Sammy loaded the dope in the trunk from his garage of his modest unsuspect suburban home. Seperate from the mobs immediate working more of a side project they bankroll the streetgang narcotic operation. Pocketing cash and lifes of many.

To go back further gets blurry when individual investors on major shipments are silent parnters and the information is conceled from the individiual partners. The dealmakers, moneyman, and the unknown’s. A hidden world.

Jumping back farther. A freighter steams across the ocean. Its crew desperately awating their port of call (D.C.). The contents known, the contents unknown, illicit. Staring out into the setting sun a shiphand and his mate light a joint and pass it back an forth in a timeless fashion. All the while the sun glinting in there eyes producing strange rays and colors. One of the joint smokers starts to get paranoid and wonders what his wife is doing back home. Who is she with? Is she cheating on him? Is she safe? Is he safe?

All the while some middle-aged parents are grappling with the husband’s slowly dying mother. Stuck in a rehabiliation hospital, her eyes just are not holding a sparkle. The grandchildren stare at the wall and bite there finger nails, the grandson excuses himself and locates a bathroom, sits in the stall and loads a shot of heroin. The Morphine drip is contributing to her dillusions of past lost memories…

Tales of ‘old Chicago’, drinking Hi-balls with sparkly glass drink stirers in Key Largo, amphetamine induced madwomen, vacuuming cleaning frenzies. In the 1950’s the pills raindown reminiscent of the overly played Skittles commercial. Escapes into the deep woods summer retreat cabin. Roasting marshmellows to a crisp, brown trout sparkling with a irradesent tint, caged in a woven wooden basket. Ripples that start from the lone canoe clad in a a birch tree skin wrap, thru the golden pond they dance around my ankels. Twisting around on the rope swing, splashing up walls of transparent water. Viewable from the Tree-Fort carefully constructed by Grandfather, Father, and Son [still standing to this day].

Fuzzy navels and teenage sex, careless summer days, wasting the afternoons sitting at the country club pool, watching the water shed off the breasts of some new 17yr old I will have naked at some future party in some house on the hill. Twisted thru the Horse trails, LSD explodes, and money flows, the pot smoke hangs heavy in the air. Cozy back yard decks tucked in leafy surroundings, old copper tubs filled with ice and bottled beer.

Whats the matter with the crowd Im seeing?
Dont you know that theyre out of touch?
Should I try to be a straight A-student?
If you are then you think too much

Dont you know about the new fashion honey?

All you need are looks and a whole lotta money.
Its the next phase, new wave, dance craze, anyways
Its still rock and roll to me.
Hot funk, cool punk, even if its old junk.
Its still rock and roll to me.

Burst thru the speakers. The kids are sitting on the side of the house necking beers, passing a joint, and deciding on who’s party to go to tonite, my cares drift away and the sun sinks and the shadows come out to play.

Prelude [not not Preludin, you junkies]:

I was 19 at the time, I had a good job and it paided very well for my age [mid 30K’s]. I had plenty of cash and a methadone and heroin habit from hell. My boss knew I was a junky because of my 2 hr. lunches and well I looked like hell. It didnt help her son was also a heroin addict who I had hooked-up and partied down with plenty of times. So point being she stops over out-of-the-blue on a Saturday afternoon. I literally just got back from scoring and was loaded. She said I have to go to rehab NO QUESTIONS asked, “I am not stupid I know whats going on”. I was slightly relieved because I was sick and tired already, almost 5 yrs on the horse combined with couple years on deathadone. So I get put on medical leave full pay while gone and they picked up the tab for rehab 37-39K, I forget its pointless anyways except to show the insane costs of trying to get help. I called around to ask different rehabs to inquire on their usual detox meds and routine untill I found one to my liking.

The Story:

I grudgingly check into rehab with a half gram of heroin and a bottle of Xanax and Klonopin. They searched me and didnt find shit as I was prepared for the search. The half gram was gone by dinner time and I was freaking out filled with anxiety knowing I was dopeless for the next day, eventually passing out.

I was fiending bad at day break of day two. Of course the fucking nurses [no offense Soma] would come in to check my vitals at like 4:30 am, once I am up, I am up. Being up that early with the realization of where I am and what I am doing started to sink in. Extreme cravings, anxiety and sickness soon started to creep into the marrow of my bones. My cells screaming for heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, shit anything at this point. I talk myself into leaving and going to go cop some more heroin and started to pack-up my things. The counsellors had their little intervention with me and convinced me to stay. My family and boss drove up after the rehab called them saying I was leaving. Once they got there they all pleaded for me to stay, I turned my head the otherway, I didnt want to listen.

“Drew dont fuck this up you need help. Its gonna suck but you have to deal with it and beat this”.

I wish I would have listened to them than, damn-it, but I am a firm believer in fate, things happen for a reason. My stash of benzo’s were a safety net just incase I wasnt being medically detoxed to my satisfaction, which is always the case. That rehab trip [my first of many] I referred to the nurses as ‘Valium Vending Machines, VVM’s, ha’ or rather they referred to me as the ‘Pill Mongrel’. My detox meds at this point is 30mg of valium, QID [4 times daily], Catapress patch [clonadine], Compazine, [stomach tranquilizer], and 800mg Ibuprofen and sleeping med, [A small tiny orange pill. I still dont know what it was to this day and I usually always know my meds but I was in such a fog].

Some how I managed to make it thru my second day in rehab and my first day clean from heroin. As the w/d’s started to come on harder and more intense and my meds werent holding me like they should be in my opinion [if I am paying or rather someone else is paying major bucks for treatment I better be medicated to my discretion]. Things just start getting worse, none of my dealers would deliver to me in rehab and I blew the half gram I brought like a ice cream cone on a hot summers day, fast as fuck. I have needles and pills but nothing good to shoot and I definitely cant get behind ol’ nurse ‘vending machine’ to steal something.

Than I get the idea fuck it I am going to shoot up some of my Xanax, it was late in the evening and I was starting to lose it, only about 20 hours clean. Its not easy to get Xanax into a injectable solution. I know water isn’t going to work well, I know nothing is going to work well but I know acidic solution is better than nothing so off to the Dining room I go. They were closing up shop and one of the workers, some guy my age was cleaning dishes when I peeked my head in the backroom. I asked if it was possible to get a little vinegar? He looked at me like I was an alien. So I changed my game plan and asked if he had any lemons. Which I knew they had because of the lay out of the food when we would eat. So he gave me a chunk a lemon without questioning my intent and I hightailed it back to my room with a pop can and a lemon.

I crunch up 4mg of Xanax. Squeeze the lemon juice* all over the pile of powder and add some water mix and mash untill it was pastey than just added more water untill I could get it semi into solution and than sucked up a shot. Injecting and repeated adding more water re-dissolving the Xanax sludge and re-injecting. I probably got about 6 or 7 shots in me when some girl knocks on my door and asks if I am going to group. I yell from my locked bathroom, “FUCK NO” and shoot a few more shots somehow trying to feed my needle fixation with anything. After I was done shooting I chewed up 5 bars of Xanax and 6-8 mg’s of Klonopin, praying for relief.

The rest is a blur… I remember being in a half dream withdrawal from hell state. Sometime I got up in the middle of the night thinking I was in my house and left my room to go to the kitchen in my head. Only to be told by the late night nurse I am in rehab I am not in my house go back to bed. So I stumbled back into my room and got in my bed. I was having horrible shaking tremors, thoughts and images of street corners and dopebags flashed thru my head with a vengence. I curled into the fetus position sweating bullets, yet cold as a Chicago winter. I remember trying to get out of bed I kept on putting my feet on the floor but trying to stand-up I would collapse. I couldnt walk, my legs were jello, I was so sick. Some how I ended walking straight into the wall hard. I busted my nose open and it started bleeding all over, thats the last I remember.

I was awoken in the morning by the cleaning lady shaking me, next thing you know there are a couple nurses and few counsellors standing above me. I am sprawled out on the floor, passed out. My pills must have fell out of my pocket as there were like 30 pills all over the floor including a few needles. A big blood stain on the wall from where I walked into it and blood all over my face, dried and crusted. My eyes were open but I saw nothing but white haze, the voices were distant. They started asking me a million questions and my only answer is did I miss the morning meds? I longed for that little silver cart with mini dixie cups filled with a plethora of multicolored and shaped pills for each patient, I wanted to steal them all and down them like shots one, two, ten. All I could think about was getting my sick off and heroin. They were pissed to say the least but fuck I didnt care, I was hoping to get kicked out. Of course after getting long hard talk about how they will give me another chance, or was that give me another chance for you to keep getting your 1200-1500$ a day outta me?

* dont use lemon juice to inject substances, crack for instance as it can contain bacteria that can do some major harm. If you are looking for an acid solution use Asorbic acid [Powderized Vitamin C], Acetic acid [Vinegar] or one of the other semi safe acids. Shooting pills is extremly dangerous even with proper filters [micron/filter wheels].

Prolouge:

I ended getting kicked out of the rehab as my insurance money started to near its end, and went back to the only thing I knew. Smack, White dreams, Narcotic stupor, High on anything, Drunk on pleasure, Blissed out, Irrational.


Patience runs out on the junkie
The dark side hires another soul
Did he steal his fate or earn it
Was he force-fed, did he learn it
Whatever happened to his precious self control

_______________________________________________________________________

Its was a day just like every other day, I was young at the time Nineteen, Twenty or so [roughly 10 yrs. ago]. I just came back from a dope run, it was a good day I was loaded before I even rolled out of bed. Of course that wasn’t good enough so I decided to go cop some smack and crack. I shot up a few bags on the ride home and was pretty much wasted by the time I arrived home.

If memory serves me correct it was a winter evening when I got home. In a opiated, benzofied, cracked out, stoned stupor I decided to have a bowl of cerial. After scooping a few huge tablespoons of sugar onto my already sugary cerial I pour the milk. As luck would have it I nod’d out hard standing up while pouring the milk. The bowl overflowed spilling all over the counter and floor just as my Father walked into the Kitchen, great luck that day, eh? My parents were well aware of my heroin use at this time, shit they were funding it. My Mother is an enabler from hell or heaven [take your pick] but my Father just shuts down and never would bring up the issue except for this day [a few other days also, ha].

“What the fuck are you on today” ?!?

“Uhh, ahhh, mmm, w-w-what…’?

“Drugs what are you on”?!?

“Nothing Dad”. As my eyes were rolling back in my head, pale as a ghost, and skinny as well a dope fiend.

“Empty your pockets”.

I proceed to the dining room table and started unloading my stash:

bottle of Xanax
bottle of Klonapin
Bottle of Norcos
10-pak of BD syringes
A half a jab/pack of dope/smack/horse/diesel/heroin [6 bags]
A soda-can dope/crack cooker
Three bags of crack
A glass stem [puff that plastic smoke]
A small bottle of vinegar [for injecting the freebase/crack]
A bag of pot
And drumroll, a pot pipe

Quite a nice spread I had laid out, he yelled something about when are you going learn? I mumble something incoherent. My Mother than walked into the the room and with a swipe of her arm grabbed the needles, heroin, crack and glass stem. I grabbed the rest and stumbled up to my room [spilling milk the whole way] and shot the last bag I had stashed in my room. I think my Father didnt talk to me for a week or so that time, its pushing close to a year now-a-daze.

The next morning I awoke early dopesick and had no cash on me, after poping a few pills and organizing my thoughts I called my Mother on her car phone and demanded $50 bucks. [Just a typical day]
“But… Mother I am sick and Dad took my dope last night”.

My Mother told me to go up into her closet and check the inside pocket of the 3rd jacket from the end, inside pocket. Than hung-up on me. Pissed off I made my way upstairs dragging my stiff and jittery legs as best I could and checked the jacket.

Low and behold, my six bags of heroin and three bags of crack. Score, thanks Mom! I usually like to have some heroin in my system before I start into the crack just to help take the edge off. I shot up a couple of bags of smack, packed a couple crack rips and got a few nice bell-ringers. I injected my last bag of crack and was throughly geeked out, mouth as dry as a desert. So what’s a junky to do? Shoot some more heroin why of course. With in 30 minutes I was down to a half bag and it was still early a.m. [morning]. I knew this wasn’t going to last me 1 hour let alone the rest of the day. So back to the telephone…

“Mother I still need money…”.

“What the fuck for I just gave you your dope back”!?

“Well Mother thats just not going to cut it, its already gone and I need more”.

“Bitch, Bitch, Bitch… There are two 20’s under the kleenex box in your bathroom”.
-Click

A measly $40 bux not enough but it will work, so I scored. Just another typical day in, day-out life of Seedless. Who ever invented that ‘tough-love’ bullshit sure had no effect on my families personal parental skills. I feel so sad for kids that had to suffer through ‘tough-love’ syndrome, FUCK THAT SHIT. As to day I am recovering and happy with out the help of ‘tough love’.

– <![CDATA[

Introduction to the ghetto –

Sick of buying $15 bags from my only 1 connection who didnt always have the product and I am a very impatient person.  So, a friend and myself decided to venture down to the westside of Chicago and score our own dope.  We knew the general vicinity of where the smack, crack, and angledust lay but before we set off on our mission we told our connection the plans and asked for a little help in what areas [streets specifically] we needed to head to.  He rattled of 6 or seven different street intersections and told us generally how to get there.  Armed with our scratched out map we hit the highway with dreams of dope.

The Chicago H scene is pretty straight forward most of the consumer deals are done at dope spots that have been established by different gangs.  Most often than not you dont have to even get out of your car it is road side service, some spots would make you get out.  On the westside of Chitown there were/are thousands of different spots to score at. 

Although I have noticed a bit of a change since the mid-early 90’s thats was the start of the big heroin boom in the area, every sidestreet you turned down had spotters and look-outs maning every corner just begging for your business now a days it hasnt changed to much albeit the cops and media have been frenzied the last 5 years or so, constantly printing articles in the Chicago Tribune or SunTimes about how the heroin trade is destroying the youth because it is leaking out of the inner-city and starting to become noticable in the surrounding suburbs [some would go so far as to post maps to spots, always helpful to those curious cubs reading the newspaper at home, I wouldnt doubt if the newspapers were to blame for introducing some to the heroin trade].  Once the heroin epidemic spilled over into mainstream city life and rich suburbia, did the powers that be took notice.  They could no longer ignore the crys of families that had lost a son or daughter to heroin something had to be done in there eyes.  Large crackdowns began, reverse stings, arrests for being white in the ghetto [attempting to purchase narcotics and if they didnt get you on that charge they would barrage you in a sea of traffic tickets].  Things got a bit hairy cop’n on the westside.  You were always left with scoring on the street on the Southside of Chicago in the many highrise project CHA [Chicago Housing Authority] building skirting the south shore of Lake Michigan but thats another tale unto itself best left for another time.  After time I developed a few ‘off-the-street’ connections that only sold in minimum sizes of 1 gram.  As with most things time wore-out the efforts of the police and city administrators and they started to realize the scope of the problem, the roots of the Chicago heroin trade were firmly planted deep with in the city and no matter what the cops or media tried to do they really could not dent the drug trade and it continues to flourish year after year, sure they could occasionally shut down some of the bigger spots that made 20K or so a day easy but they would have to get passed all the crooked cops for starters.

Finish later…  fingers tired, time to take some buprenorphine and watch HBO 

 

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– <![CDATA[

I was sniffing a half a bundle a day [5-6 bags] and barely even getting high it was just taking away my sickness and giving my body the opiates that it craved.  I was letting a friend hitch a ride with me on my way to score some dope and after we scored and did some dope, I was fucking around with the radio and a bit aggravated that I just put $50 dollars worth of powder up my nose and wasnt really feeling the least bit noddy when I looked over at my copping partner and he is passed out his head resting on my window.

I shook him out of his nod [dont you hate that emoticon? but it was my car my rules, ha] and asked him to prep a shot for me as I wasnt as high as I wanted to be, I tossed him a tinfoil packet and kept on driving.  I pull off into a gas station and tie-up with me seatbelt.  Poke, poke, register…  he looks up at me and asks if I am ready to which I reply, Yup.  Down the plunger goes, a few seconds pass and a tightness fills my chest, I can taste the dope in my mouth as the rush coarses thru my system.  I am officially in love at that point and my life revolves around those 5-10 seconds of bliss.

It took me a good 2 weeks to get the injecting techinque down well enough with out butchering my arms, and always needing somebody around to hit me just didnt fly.  So one day I bought a fresh 10 pak from some ghetto corner store [at that time it was illegal to sell syringes OTC in Illinois, the main option was needle exchanges around town, sketchy corner shops, or the occasional ‘get lucky’ buying needles at a bigger pharmacy chain] and went home to practice.  So I sat indian-style on my floor and practiced, practiced, practiced, soon it paid off I was able to hit my young veins while cruising down the highway at 70mph or a quick poke behind the newspaper while riding the train or El. 

Soon after I found the plus sides of IV’ing coke, crack, and pills.  Life was perfect, life was great. 

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– <![CDATA[

A short little background before I full immerse you in the world of the poppy…               
Snowflakes from above… Smack, Blows, Wraps, Bindles, Bricks, Jabs, Packs, HEROIN. 

 

It all started in the summer of my Freshman year I was a tender 14 yrs old and was already ripe for picking in illicit pharmacology, a proverbial drug dust-bin.  I attended school in an affluent suburb of Chicago drugs, booze, and girls were the norm [isn’t that what high school was all about?].  I planted my first pot plant at the age of 13, there was always a steady stream of psychedelics spinning off one of our connections and the many Grateful Dead tours [fall, winter, spring and summer tours].  My first job consisted of being the ‘clean-up’ boy for a local Mom & Pop pharmacy.  They gave me the key to the store and every Sunday morning I was to bring in the newspapers and wash the floor prior to the other employees coming to work, I went to the library and checked out ‘The Little Black Pill Book’ which was layman’s guide that warned of the most abused pharmacutical drugs.  After that I was leaving work with a ziplock half full of all sorts of goodies, mainly it was v-cut valiums, vicodins, codiene formulations, syrups, and other downers and uppers [this was before the whole ADD/ADHD mushroom growth].  School turned into a blur and the downward spiral started its slow [at that point] descent.  Anyways…

Onto the dope business…  Up, Up, and Away

So it was a typical hot summers afternoon, I was chilling at my best friends house killing the day with bong-rips and Thrasher magazine.  We got a phone call from a friend telling us to come over he had something ‘new’ for us to try.  We kick-started our bicycles and started peddling over, when we got to his house he was out in the garage with his girlfriend.  

"Whats the deal…?"

I got some stuff that makes you feel like your floating in the clouds, its great.  We pushed him a little harder on what the actual substance was and he replied ‘China’.  In our young minds that answer seemed to fit our questions but looking back I didnt piece 1 and 1 together and I didnt realize I was about to do heroin.  So out on the top of his Weber grill he dumped out one tinfoil of a off-white powder and cut it into 2 lines, a little sniff, sniff and the job was done.

Slowly the dope was kicking in and I wasnt to impressed, so we left to go on a bike ride which entailed laying snow-angel style in the long summer grass staring up at the clouds imaging we were floating in the clouds.  That quickly turned into projectile vomiting and soon we were alternating between fetal positions and non-stop upchucking. Fun, fun, fun till daddy takes the T-bird away.

I was slightly turned off by the negative side effects the heroin had on my body and it took me another couple weeks to have the courage to do it again.  The second time the same deal: puking, sweating, and the ultimate euphoria.  I was floating in the clouds, I was in Heaven.

That summer my use was sporadic but my body slowly became acclimated to the effects and a 1/4 of a bag would send me sky high.  There were many nights explaining to my parents why I was dripping sweat and taking up residence next to the toliet bowl with my pillow.  Later my Mother recounted to me she thought it was just typical teenage drinking, oh how wrong she was.

Sophmore year started and I was already becoming a mess: 3-4 v-cut Valiums to start out the day only to leave me in a haze by 3rd period.  By the time I was 15 I already had a good hunderd lsd trips and 30 or so mushroom trips under my belt.  We were scoring 1/4 ounces of coke for $250, and selling a little on the side netted up a free 8ball.  Soon snorting became dull and boring and we were introduced into the world of freebasing [Crack was always around but powder was more abundant].  So soon our Weekends consisted of copping a few bags of dope and rocking up a ball and smoking in exteme paranoia that our parent would hear us, staying up till Sunday afternoon and coming down with some good ‘ol fail-safe smack. 

The age of 16 rolls around and our pockets are stuffed thanks to a steady conection of $50 dollar sheets and $400-600 books [blank 8×10 inch white paper, occasionally with a odd sheet thrown in depending on strength] [books = 10 sheets/1000 hits] and the heavenly ‘Bibles’ [100 sheets] which was either needle-point or white fluff crystal [Average prices, quantity prices varied wildly on connection].  Bought in SanFran in gram[s], it was than flown by carrier 1rst class to Boulder, Co. where the lsd was laid and sent out by mail to Rainbow Family connections in Chicago.  Grams were going for 3 grand [last I heard (2002’ish) and this was for TJ/Tornado Juice, too bad contacts dried upemoticon].  Swirls and mindfucks were abound in plenty, to put it bluntly we had FUN.  I was still using H which was delivered to my hand I never had to cop at this point, I was using at a frequency of 1-3 times a week ontop of all the other madness that was going on.

By the time I graduated HIGH School with honors I might add, how I cant tell you.  I was a Catholic and I was Confirmed under the influence of lsd, I scored great on my ACT’s and SAT’s high on mushrooms, drugs were an everyday part of my life.  I had a habit not quite everyday usage but I happily filled in the void days with handfuls of prescription pills.  Gulp.  My parents we pushing me to go to a nice college but I had other plans which consisted of hitting the road and chasing the dream of hippydumb.  I toured extensively with The Dead and than after the demise of Jerry with Phish.  We used to chase the H van around in the parking lots or we would roll into the ghettos across the country sniffing out the now booming heroin trade.  Philly, Baltimore, D.C., NYC, Boston, Chicago [Sweet home Chicago]. 

Psychedelics started to wear on me once I lost track of the number of trips [900+ lsd and 100’s on mushrooms, the occasional DMT blast, cacti mescaline beverage, or the rare (back than) Tihkal or Pihkal substances DOM/DOI].  It wasn’t soon that the needle entered the picture. 

 

"Click, flashblade in ghetto night, rudies lookin for a fight"
"Rat cat alley roll them bones, need that cash to feed that jones" – Grateful Dead

 

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