Saturday, February 13, 2010

Toilet Water

I once heard a story told by one of my gay friends. Ash was hanging out in the French Quarter's most notorious gay bar, The Oz. Now, as his evening progressed his inner calling to shoot more dope is creeping up. By the time Ash finally scores, he has been back to his apartment several times, walked the Quarter, and now seems to be headed straight into the depths of withdrawal. As his bowels are seemingly moving around, getting ready to explode as the sickness sets in, he realizes he will have to shoot up in the public bathroom at a gay bar.
Good thing he has remembered his works! So, Ash gets into the stall after waiting in line for what seemed like an eternity, twitching with anxiousness and impending doom. He gets out his dope, and he sets up his works. He can feel those waiting for a stall breathing down his closed door. Oh shit, Ash realizes he has no water with him. What does one do in this conundrum?
Do you give up your spot in the safe and secure bathroom to get water? You would then have to get back in line again, and the impending sickness will NOT wait. There is no back chamber to this toilet where clean water is held. The toilet bowl appears to be the only option...
Don't think about it, just dip the needle in. As the pain sets down on top of you, and the sickness has crept into all your are screaming to get well. And the toilet water seems the only viable option. So, Ash just dips the needle in the toilet water, smells the sweetness of the dope cooking, and momentarily hits a vein. AHHHHHHH...releif, who cares what you had to do to get there. Getting there is all that matters.
And then there is Jeff, from St. Louis. He recalls using the water from a puddle to shoot up with. He was very sick, and it was very wet. He had been waiting around the shady corners of St. Louis, hoping to score for hours. As he gets sicker and sicker, desperation seeps in. When he is finally handed a couple of bags from a dark and grubby hand in the dirty alleyway, he is dying inside. Quickly, he runs through the rain into an empty lot where he uses the dirty puddle water to shoot his dope.
At one time, these stories horrified me. How could one become so desperate as to use toilet water? For years, I made a point to always bring a tiny jar of water along with my works. But, in the world of heroin addiction, things always fall by the wayside...and we all end up in the shit.
The first time I was caught sick without any water and in deperate need of my fix, I used lemonade. I knew people cooked down crack with lemon juice, so Tropicana lemonade should work just fine. It burned like hell, but at least I wasn't sick anymore. I have used Gatorade, white wine, and even my beloved Jameson. Talk about an instant hangover.
And yes, I also became desperate enough to use toilet water. I used to try to use a bathroom to shoot up in that had a toilet with a back chamber. I never minded using that water because it had not yet been in the bowl with shit and piss. Once, I was permanantly banned from a bar because I broke the lid to that back chamber. My shot got me so fucked up that I stumbled, and the lid was still cocked to the side with all my works set on it. The lid came tumbling down, shattering, and sending my needle and charred spoon flying. By the time I could react in my slowed down state, the bartender was screaming at me to get my shit and get the FUCK out. I must admit, that in a desperate time or two, I have just plunged that needle into the toilet bowl. In my defense, my veins were screaming obsenities at me and trying to claw their way out from the inside.
Junkies do all kinds of weird things to their needles. When it is old and doesn't slide as smooth, just stick the plunger in your ear...the ear wax lubricates it. I knew one guy who was constantly filing down the tip of his needle to make it glide in smoother. Forget that it might leave sanded down needle dust that could get in his vein, he wanted it to slide in smooth as butter. I even knew someone who made a syringe, using bamboo and an old tip to a hypo. I don't know how he saw the blood draw back in the bamboo, but he said he used it for months.
Looking back, I am just thankful that I do not have hepatitis or some other weird diesease from all my transgressions. I never shared a needle, but I would use my own until it was no longer usable. And sometimes even then, I could make it work. I am lucky I never got sick from shooting liquor or kool-aid. I am thankful that as careless as I have been, that I am perfectly healthy. (And believe me, I have been extensively tested for everything before I had my son.) I just wish that all my friends had been so lucky.

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