From Bedtime Stories for the Insomniac and Junkie Stories: Behind The Cans

There I was, curled up in a corner and hidden in the moonlit night behind two trash cans against the side of a single family home. The house was in the middle of the block on a quiet street in an otherwise quiet town. I could not get my bearings as to why I was there or why I had to run. I was unsure of my whereabouts and unsure where to go.
Breathing heavy, I waited and watched a police car slowly creep from down the corner and drive down the street like a predator lurking for its prey.
There was a bright light beaming through the night and shining from the police car’s driver’s side window. The officer in search aimed the light towards the bushes and shrubs that dressed the front yards of suburban homes where young teenage hoodlums like me, hid in the dark bushy hideaways, or fled through backyards and leapt over fences to escape their consequences. In the best of cases, the end result would have been a police escort home. In this case, however, if I were caught there would be no ride home. I was young but I had already passed the legal threshold from minor to adulthood.

I could see the police car slowly making its way down the street. Placed along the sidewalks, tall wooden poles with steel arms reached into the middle of the quiet residential street. At the end of the steel arms was a bright streetlamp, hanging like a brilliant pendant and gleaming down on the road and its curbside.

I could feel my heart pounding like a heavy drum beating from the inside an empty cave. In addition to the fear of being taken away, and aside from the heavy breaths that followed after a quick run to escape my detention, there was also the unstoppable adrenaline which came from a speedy white powder that flooded my bloodstream.

There we were. There was me and them.
And by “Them,” I mean anyone that would attempt to take me away in cuffs or separate me from this sickness I called life.
“Them,” or “They” meant anyone that would take away my fix.

It was me against them. I knew this for sure.
If “They” had their way, I knew exactly what “They” would do.
They would try and take me away. And the term “They,” also meant anyone that would place me in room with white walls, white sheets on white hospital beds, and white straightjackets that led me to a medicated surrender. “They” would call me crazy and take me away. I imagined “They” would take my will, leaving me mindless and content to do nothing but drool on myself with a blank stare as I looked out from the inside of a hospital window.

It was me against them, and I could not let them get me. I had to get away because I knew “They” would never understand. I knew “They” could never relate to the beautiful lies or understand the feeling of being perfectly weightless. “They” were never high like this before. They never felt high to the point where the breath in your chest is numb, your heart is speeding like a suicide machine, and as the drug pulses through the system; the body becomes painless as if a magic frost covers each and every frayed nerve to leave mind temporarily suspended in a state of bliss.

I could feel my empty stomach growling. Its rumble pierced the silence. Then a dog began to bark from a nearby yard. The warm summer breeze allowed a hushing sound as it swept through the full leafy trees. Then it hit me. I knew exactly where I was. I was on Maitland Street just south of Harton Avenue. I was one block away from Prospect Park, which is a place I once went to but was no longer welcomed.
As the squad car slowly drove passed me, I could hear the police radio, squelching, and the murmuring voice of a female dispatcher spoke in numeric codes that followed with descriptions of me, the suspect.

There I sat, crouched with two trash cans blocking me from view. The smell from the cans was terrible. My stomach was already disturbed from the bitter drip of cocaine, which fell from the back of my nose, and then numbed its way down my throat until falling into the empty pit inside my gut.

I could never run very fast or far.
I was small, however. I was thin too and able to hide very well.

My side hurt from running. My jaw was locked shut as a result of a chemical reaction. I could not avoid the terrible smell that came from the cans. I gagged, but I kept a hand over my mouth to mute the noise and hopefully hold down the empty retch that came along with several hours of cocaine abuse.

I only had one bag left. Only one bag. And should “They” have discovered me with this one bag, the police would undoubtedly take the bag away along with my freedom as well.
Worse than losing freedom was losing the only source I believed that allowed me to feel free to begin with. And worse than the arrest itself; worse than the cold steel handcuffs clasping too tightly around my wrists, and worse than the antagonizing words from an arresting officer, worse than the ride to the precinct, the questions, the interrogating detectives, the smell of the cage they put me in, the holding cell, and worse than the terrible breakfast with overly sweetened, watered down coffee they give in the morning before seeing the judge; I would have to undergo this process with the terrible withdraw of cocaine’s aftermath.

I waited in my hiding place, trying hard to ignore the smell of garbage, and trying harder to overcome the flood of paranoid thoughts. Who knew why “They” were chasing me? I was unsure why “They” were after me and why I began running. All I knew is I had to get away from “Them.”

I sat as still as possible. My long hair covered my face. Sweat ran down my forehead and clumped my hair into thick wet strands. I could not breathe very well, and worse, I suffered from an ongoing disturbance otherwise known as the fiend.

The fiend is what happens when the benefits of the drug wear off. The fiend is when the weightless becomes heavy and the quick ascend to the clouds descends to the ground. The soul crashes. The brightness of the high loses its generosity and instead becomes too glaring and almost painful to see.  And worse, there is no shade from this brightness. There is no way out. The only option is to do more or suffer the fate.
The results of cocaine can be accurately described as this: Imagine a laugh that appears friendly and welcomes you in. You like it at first, but the laugh tends to change. And once you’re in, it is too late and that friendly laugh becomes obscene and evil.
The fiend is what causes the drug binge to continue; it is the need to regain height and soften the twitchiness of cocaine bugs that crawled through my brain.

The fiend is an imaginary or internal voice. It cries loudly like an unattended child. It whispers half-truths and fabulous lies. The fiend keeps speaking and its volumes, while no louder than an inner thought, eventually screams in a deafening silence.
All you want to do is fix it. And you need to fix it. You need to get your mind right and back to the way it was. The fiend leaves you at your knees. It will have you crawling the floor with hopes to find something—anything—like a crumb, or a small enough piece or pebble of cocaine. Meanwhile, the fiend also tricks the eyesight. Tiny white flakes appear like mirages in the desert sands—but more often than not, the flakes or seldom real. I have found myself in this way, searching the ground with a lighter, hoping to find anything that could help me return to grace. I searched my pockets and the folds in my clothes in chance that something may have fallen.

There I was, suffering from the symptoms, and hiding from the law. The fiend was with me like a vampire closing his cloak around a victim. I had one bag remaining, But the last remaining bag was not actually a bag as you would imagine. It was a small package folded like a tiny envelope. The streetlamps were nowhere close to me, but I was able to see because the moonlight reached down and glowed from behind my shoulder. The white paper envelope seemed almost blue in the moonlight. On the front of the envelope was the words “White Diamonds.”

After the police car passed, I looked over the garbage pails to assure there was no one walking in the street. I did not want to give up my hiding spot. All I wanted was to sniff the contents of this final package. I slowly opened the folded paper. Inside the opened packet, white crystals glimmered and twinkled in a bluish shade.

My heart was racing. The paranoid whispers that spoke in my ear led me to believe there was someone after me. I had to get rid of the evidence. I had to get the powder in through my nose so it could contaminate my bloodstream and set me straight.
As I lowered my face to the package with a finger from my right hand pressed against my right nostril, my left hand acting like a tray to hold the package, and I, like the C-shape of a microscope, lowered myself to ingest the deadly specimen. I moved in but not quickly enough.

I felt a hand pull at my shirt from behind.
“They” got me, I thought.
This disrupted my posture and caused my left hand to rise up. The package went flying. In an instant, I saw all the pretty crystals fly up in the air. In the next instant, I watched the powder dissipate into absolute nothingness.

It was all gone . . .

I tried to run away but my legs would not agree. I tried to get away from the hand that pulled me back, but I could not move. I could not speak or scream.
I panicked. I jumped up, only to realize I was at home in my bed.

It was just another drug dream . . .

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