Scoring – Extract from My Memoir
I needed a new connection. I found Paddy sitting in the sun on the concourse leading to Manchester’s famous Piccadilly station. He had a small black puppy on a ragged rope end and a hat full of small change.
I squatted down and asked him if he could help me score. He jumped up immediately,
“Sure, sure follow me.” He spoke in a quick Irish patter that was difficult to understand. I had to get him to repeat half of everything he said. We walked together through the station.
“Follow me lad, follow me, so you just a casual user like?” He was conversational and would inject his speech every few seconds by yelling “Suzy!” and tugging the puppy away from whatever it had become interested in – which was everything apart from the direction we were going.
We emerged at one of the back entrances to the station and started walking towards a mash overpasses and footpaths. I turned back to Paddy, he was very short – not much over five feet with a barrel chest, arms full of tattoos and short black hair and blue eyes. A bike had suddenly appeared. Suzy scampered around, sniffing the cool, blue metal.
“Where did you get that?” He shrugged
We walked on. He was good company, we chatted most of the way. He was listing all the dealers he knew, not to impress me, but because no-one had listened to him for some time so all the information he had that might be of use poured out.
“And yasee, there’s this black kid, he has the best stuff but he’s always late, and then there is the Asian lads but I have to travel to moss side to get their stuff, but my god, they have some strong coke, I never do the powder like, but this was different, proper blows your socks off like.”
We entered an estate of low rises.
“This is my place here,” I was surprised, no connect had taken me back to their flat before. Slightly nervous I walked inside, “you’ve texted him already yeh?” I asked,
“Yeh yeh, course, he only meets me here he does, better than outside, you want a cup of tea?”
He handed me a mug of tea while I sat on his sofa in the kitchen/living room. It was surprisingly neat and tidy.
“Gotta keep things clean, like,” he said taking a seat on the armchair opposite the TV. Behind the TV were French windows leading out into a communal, concrete garden, the curtains were drawn and the winter sun made them glow.
“Suzy!” The dog was jumping up on me. Paddy grabbed her collar and shoved her away.
“It’s really fine – when is he –“
“Suzy!” The dog cut me off, hopping excitedly around me, “Suzy c’mon.” He wrestled the dog off me, grabbed my mug and went over to the kitchen sink and started furiously washing up. Suzy had lain down and was eyeing me with enforced somberness.
Paddy’s phone rang.
“Yeh, yeh, OK, yeh I’m here now man,” he turned to me, “he’s here, givuss your money,” I handed him ₤15, “and what about me?” he ventured, I handed him another ₤15. He disappeared through the door and I heard the front door open, a brief conversation and he was back.
He dumped the gear on the coffee table in front of me,
“Ya need foil do ya? Hang on,” a roll of foil landed with a silvery thump.
“Suzy!” The dog, excited by the foil dump had started jumping on me again. Paddy grabbed her and put her out in the hall and rushed back. He started tearing open a small lump of white crack which he boiled into a solution and injected into his groin. I averted my eyes from this heinously reckless drug use and sucked down my own solution.
There was a knock at the door. Paddy disappeared and then returned followed by a ratty man in an oversized coat. He was carrying a TV which he dumped on the floor. He looked over at me and nodded. I returned the acknowledgment and busied myself with taking heroin just to prove I wasn’t a cop or anything.
The man and Paddy started having an esoteric and animated discussion – something about his girlfriend and lost drugs. And then another needle was produced and his friend turned his back on both of us dropped the front of his pants and injected the crack into his groin.
The two of them sat down, slobbering and chomping down their jaws, talking fast about nothing. Luckily by this point, my bliss was too intense to find any of this disturbing in any way. Paddy looked at my dope,
“Can I have a bit, just a bit to take the edge off,” I reluctantly allowed him to take a crumb of the gear which he proceeded to load into a syringe.
“I used to take this stuff, but I’m clean now, clean as a whistle, just the crack, you know and that’s only occasional, I got an interview next week, with the job centre – Suzy!” The dog was scratching on the door.
His friend turned to me, sniffing the air,
“Ah you smoke doya?” I looked at him blankly,
“You ever pinned it?” I shook my head, I knew the needle led to the next stage of desperation and this stage had been painful enough, I didn’t want to risk it.
“You will soon,” he said and winked at me.
I exhaled and made my excuses. I didn’t want to have to share my dope any further. As I strolled back, the autumn trees rained leaves and shook me like love. The streets were quiet. I looked down, the stolen bike was in my hand; I had paid Paddy ₤15 for it. The ride back to the station was quick and easy. I floated home like a ghost caught in heroin smoke.