The dowser wand twitches. Junk is close.
I’m swimming in alcohol and music. The function room is half full and a cover band plays a number by Babyshambles. People collect around flimsy tables, they mingle by the bar and extroverts twirl in front of the stage. But I don’t know anyone.
It’s more like a wedding reception than the gigs I’m used to. In the City strangers made love before they even knew a name. It was a cacophony of individualism to the point where conformity was the only rebellion left. Out here, the people have known each other since primary school.
I had gone to this tiny country town as part of a geographical cure. To get away from the City, the dealers and the glorious piss-stinking alleyways I scored in. Out here, I could reinvent myself as a human being without a serious drug problem. As the drink flowed and my lips loosened a familiar driver took the wheel, Dyou know where I can score ‘round here? I hear myself say.
There are probably a few smackheads living around here like woodlice under crumbling council houses. But penetrating that circle would be the work of weeks. The one dealer in a town like this would have watched the eyes of his clientele turn grey over many years. And anyway, I wouldn’t expect to find junkies here at a gig in a country hotel. More likely, they would be at home, nodding in solemn rhythm, a glowing cigarette caterpillared between their fingertips.
I sip another drink and enjoy the wooze and rush of alcohol. But underneath it, the pressure in my guts worsens. I spy the crowd and try to make out the telltale signs of drug use. I see drinkers, laughers, female screamers, footballers, rugby boys, young farmers but no disheveled junkie, no rambunctious cokehead, no sweating speed freak – just country folk boozing.
So I pray. I pray to the god of High. In my mind’s eye, I take the black hole in my guts and place it in the alter of my heart. The craving becames a black crystal ball and I shine my inner light through it like a distress call – a spiritual bat signal for drugs. The gods is soon here, let me score tonight, I say silently as the band finishes a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Fire.
Outside, cigarette smoke curls in the cool evening air. My consciousness clears a path through the jungle of alcohol as I talk to people. I’m not really sure what I am saying but I am convinced it is hilarious. Then I catch words coming out of my mouth, I hear certain people can get certain things in certain towns…I was too drunk for subtlety. The overweight farm replies, what doya want fella? At this point, I am too drunk for smack. The combination of alcohol and Heroin at this point would only lead to belly-wrenching sickness. So I go for the next best thing – Coke? I venture, yeh I’ll call him he says.
A delicious tremor tingles behind my skin – the coke powers my body into a dance. I am with the extroverts in front of the band – my arms flailing, body turning, bum wiggling. I dance to destroy the shell that separates me from others, me from the world. The dance is my ritual and the drugs are my sacrament. As I slow down, the guy approaches me and says into my ear, we’re going back to mine if ya want.
Smell of ammonia stings my nostrils. I am in a damp caravan with my new friends. The light is dim and the coke fizzles in a spoon. We sit around a plastic table on brown cushioned seats. I watch the cooking process. The coke is subliminated into crack and within minutes and I have the pipe to my lips and draw down the smoke that unfurls white flowers in the pipe.
Behind my eyes…dawn breaks over numbed lungs. The gods will take their toll. But for that moment… it was worth it.
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