Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Junky Johnny's girlfriend moved to New Orleans from California, where they are both from. In California, they did a lot of meth. I am sure they also did heroin, but in New Orleans...heroin reigned supreme.
Linda had a sad story. She had a trust fund which her brother controlled. She had been so careless with it before moving to New Orleans, her brother had taken over her funds. She had a Mustang, and she spent her days with Johnny...the usual routine, shooting heroin and smoking crack.
I always really liked her. I only talked to her when I would go over there to score, or to get high. We always had something to talk about. I got the feeling she was a tortured sort of soul. And it was more than obvious that her relationship with Johnny was fucked up. But, then most people had a fucked up relationship with Johnny. He could be a real jerk sometimes. (I always really liked Johnny...and for the record he was always more than cool to me.)
During one of the many "hurricane's" before Katrina, Linda wrecked the Mustang. Before Katrina, most of the hurricanes I experienced in New Orleans were little more than a storm. People would evacuate for a couple of days, and then it would barely rain in New Orleans. This particular time, Johnny and Linda had evacuated with a couple of other junkies. They did not have enough dope, and ended up terribly sick. I do not know if that was before or after leaving the city. I do know that Linda or one of the party wrecked the car because they were just too sick to drive.
I really got to know Linda during the Hurricane. I am speaking of Katrina, of course. After the first week or so, Liam and I stayed with Linda and Johnny in the Treme. They lived right around the corner from The Empress. (At the time of the Hurricane, I was no longer at The Empress because my life had spiraled downwards so much that I could not even afford to keep up with The Empress...I was crashing on couches.)
Those were a crazy few days staying with Linda and Johnny. By the time we got there, all the pharmacies had been raided. Between the four of us, we had enough pills to kill a small army. We had everything...uppers, downers, pain killers, muscle relaxers, syrups, patches, and pills. It was unreal. And the liquor was everywhere. We had bottles and bottles of everything imaginable. We had water, and we had soda, and we had juice, and we had Gatorade. We had tons of cigarettes, all kinds. We did not have much food...and we only had one pack of matches.
We had to keep a cigarette going at all times, or else we may not have been able to light another one. We sat up most of the night one night, smoking, drinking, and shooting various medications. We were taking so many pills. That was the night I discovered Haladol.
Oh, sweet Haladol. Haladol is an antipsycotic. It is also prescribed to Tourette's Syndrome. And it is a hell of a buzz. It mellows you out, and then all of the sudden...everything seems to be in slow motion. It is just like in the movies when they give someone a drug and everything is in slow motion. People are talking in such slow motion that their voice is deep and deliberate. I kept nodding out from taking so much Haladol in combination with liquid codeine. Liam had to slap me awake several times for fear I was not breathing.
Linda and I had a good time those days, but there was always such a sadness about her. I knew her and Johnny had pretty much split up. Maybe that made her sad. Maybe it was the death of her family...I had heard she got her trust fund because her grandparents or parents or both had been murdered, and she found them. She never told me that personally, so I am not sure how true it is.
We were all drinking, and taking tons of pills during these days following the Hurricane. All kinds of pills. Junkies are almost as knowledgeable as a pharmacist when it comes to pills, and often more knowledgeable than a doctor. Linda took so many pills that she was just completely out of it, like barking and shit.
We had been out and about. The water had receded a lot at this point. We wandered around all day, just checking out the madness. When we returned to the little apartment on Treme, Linda was making the weirdest noises I have ever heard a human make. I swear I thought it was a cat.
Johnny knows it is her crazy ass. He is instantly pissed. And he heads straight towards the sound, ready to start a fight.
Linda is in the bathroom. Obviously in the dark because there is no power in the city at this point. Her head is in the litter box, and the rest of her body is slumped on the floor. She is howling like an animal. It almost sounded like a cat in heat. Wailing, howling, crying...almost begging.
She is babbling senseless shit, and when Johnny lifts her head up, her eyes are just rolling back in her head. It is obvious that she is not seeing anything. She is very pale, almost blue. All the howling is making it heard for her to breathe, not to mention the litter and shit and piss clumped to her face. She is more like an animal than a human at this point, making no sense at all.
Johnny just kicks her in the ribs, muttering something about being a stupid bitch. Liam turns on the shower to put her in. The water stayed on throughout all those dark days following the storm. I am sure it was not safe to drink, but it saved the lives of several junkies I knew. Liam picks her up, howling and covered it cat shit. He throws her into the cold shower, slapping some sense into her.
She is just lying in the tub as it fills up with water. I am sitting beside the tub, and her eyes look up searching for someone, something. I am right in front of her, but at first she does not even see me. I notice her eyes starting to focus as her hurried breathing slows down a little. She is crying as she shits in the cold bathwater. She finally is able to focus on me, and she starts mumbling in her sad, sad way. It seems like she is trying to thank me, and tell me how she is appreciative. I think I hear her mutter, "I love you guys."
Shortly after, her head starts to get heavy and her eyes start to droop. Liam and Johnny lift her out of the tub. Johnny deposits her on the bed, naked. He walks off, angry and disgusted. Liam follows him, trying to calm him down.
The bed has been long since stripped of its sheets. The mattress has layers and layers of dirt. It feels grimy like cat dander. Linda is lying there, dripping wet. I dry her off with a towel that is not much cleaner than the mattress. I slip on some pants and a t-shirt. She is calm, almost limp in my arms.
She looks up. She whispers to me. I think she is telling me I am her only friend. She says, "Thank you, and I love you. Really I do." Then, she drifts off to sleep. The afternoon sun is coming through the window, making streaks of light to illuminate all the swirling dust and dirt in this tiny apartment. It is so quiet. Eerily quiet. The quiet is nice after all the howling cat noises. I stay with her for a while, often checking to make sure she is breathing. As the sun sets, I go out to join the boys on the porch. I return often to check and make sure Linda is still breathing.
She is still breathing the next morning as the sun pours in. Liam, and Johnny, and I were up very late getting wasted. We just want to sleep some more when Linda wakes up with a start. She starts crying hysterically and screaming.
She is so hysterical, I cannot understand what she is screaming about. She is throwing things, and it is obvious she is very angry. I start to make out the words...
"Fuck you, fuck you all. Do you hear me me, you stupid shits...I fucking hate you, I fucking hate you all. Why the fuck am I still here? I try to kill myself, and I fucking wake up? You assholes saved my life didn't you? Fuck you all for not just letting me die! I hate you all for not just letting me die!"
I was stunned. Too stunned to even say anything. She eventually calmed down and resumed the acts of getting completely annihilated. The following day, Liam and I decided to leave the city.
I did not see Linda again until three months later when I returned to New Orleans. We stayed together for a week or so. Johnny had been put in jail, and Linda was so lost without him. I remember hearing her cry in her sleep many of those nights. She did not cry herself to sleep, but instead she cried in her sleep. It was one of the saddest feelings I have ever had, watching her bawl in her sleep every night.
I wondered if we should have honored her wishes that day. Should we have just let her die? Would that have been better for her? Now, years later, every time I think of her...I wonder if she has finally succeeded in killing herself.

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