So, if you’re reading this next section of the story I’ll let you know the environment in which I’m writing this – I am sitting in a sweating hot cell in Elmira Prison ( which I will describe in greater detail later on….) But I am writing with the flimsy inner ink tube of a pen so my writing is a little crude and lacking. It’s very hard to write for an extended period of time, and editing/erasing is nearly impossible.
Anyway, back to Portland, starting with my arrival.
First of all, I will admit that I intended on finding heroin as soon as I arrived in Portland. In fact, I landed in Oregon with a wallet full of suboxone and six 80mg of Oxycontins in my sock. So, the first thing I needed to do after being greeted by my fraternity brothers and establishing a temporary place to stay ( which involved heavy drinking and consumption of tons of cocaine, MDMA, and all of my opiates), was to find DOPE, and quick. This is where the natural instincts of an addict kick in. First of all, I told my best friend that I wanted to go for a walk downtown, but that I needed to avoid the “Bad Areas of Town.” So I simply asked where the “Bad Areas” were so I could “Avoid Them.” He told me to make sure to stay away from the bus and train stations located near the waterfront of the West side of the river. If memory serves correctly, this area is known as the Pearl District. So to the Greyhound station I went. Within an hour I found an abundant supply of black tar heroin in one of the darkest places I have ever come across in my life, in the form of a 6 story drug-infested building directly across the street from the Greyhound.
* THE SPOT *
This building is where I got all of my drugs for the first couple of months I was in Portland. Almost every “tenant” was on the methadone program – yet still using everything they could get their hands on. It housed 14 drug dealers who had taken up residency within the 6 stories of what I would say most closely compares with a building straight out of the TV series “The Walking Dead.” They all sold heroin and meth. I would say that roughly a quarter of the residents had HIV….. and probably three/fourths of them had Hep C. Every room was filled with dirty dishes, little to no furniture, and slews of living skeletons.
The cupboards were used for syringes, cookers, cottons, and rose petals ( meth pipes) – NOT dishes and silverware. In those first 2 months 3 people died of overdoses right in front of me. I also administered Narcan to 2 people there in order to bring them back from OD – (one of whom punched me in the mouth upon returning to consciousness ( waking up in a full-on withdrawal is no fun at all, but Jesus Christ…. how about “Thank you ?”)- both of which immediately shot up again and were dead by the end of the summer.
I received “surgery” to remove abscesses on my arms from shooting up speedballs of meth and heroin 3 times in that building. The surgeons were my drug dealers; they would perform their task by cutting into the infected area with a scalpel ( stolen from an arts and crafts store for this purpose), and squeezing out the toxins from the infected area. We would all shoot up at least 1 or 2 times during the procedure. I know how fucked-up this sounds but I actually overdosed during one of these procedures. Talk about INSANITY….
But believe it or not the most vivid memory I have out of all of the time I spent in that building isn’t the overdoses OR the “surgeries, it’s of a night that I spent with one of my dealers. His name was Larry.
Larry’s drug of choice was meth. Larry had at least ten pet rats that roamed freely throughout his 20’x20′ apartment, and Larry LOVED his rats. He loved them so much that I once witness him perform an operation on some sort of weird growth that one of his oldest pets had on his face ( by the way, I find it important to mention that Larry only slept at MOST a total of 4 hours in every 7- day period). Anyway, the memory that sticks out the most to me is one night my soon to be girlfriend Ashley and I got stuck downtown and had to stay the night in Larry’s room. We tried to sleep on the floor but ended up staying up all night using a toy squirt gun to fend off the rats that repeatedly scampered over our limbs. I could write endless stories about that building but I find it very upsetting/disturbing to do so and I figure that this gives you the general idea. I will, however, end the segment on “The Building” by putting some words of pure emotion down on paper – I don’t know if this would be considered “poetry,” but here goes….
Malnourished souls wander the halls of this place –
with no regard for the joys of life-
no thoughts go through these zombies’ minds-
just the need –
to feed –
They have –
WE have –
given away all coherent thoughts-
flushed away good health and bright futures-
sold away our values and morals –
many have sold their bodies, belongings, and ALL material possessions –
all of our FAMILIES’ possessions-
just to continue to wander the endless dark, dark halls within
THE BUILDING, which lies under this seemingly endless eclipse.
Before I continue I think it’s very important to explain how I was funding my habit throughout my time in Portland. I was supposed to be looking for a job from the time I got there to the time I left, but as my addiction progressed like a cancer and my health deteriorated, the possibility of actually obtaining employment became virtually non-existent. So the two ways I attained money involved lying to my parents and later (when my drug use peaked and right before my girlfriend Ashley died) a complicated system involving re-produced ( to perfection) paychecks.
My parents were fully supporting me. They paid for my rent, my utilities, and- unknowingly- my drugs. Every couple of weeks I would blatantly lie to my parents about grocery bills, appliances for the apartment,and clothes I needed. I would convince them that I had lost a bunch of money, or that it had been stolen from me in various ways. (Later on I would really be robbed and stolen from…. Karma’s a bitch.) As addiction progresses, so do the lies.
My whole life became a lie. I lied to everyone but more importantly I lied to the people who meant the most to me, my parents and friends. I realize that this paints an ugly picture of my life and of me as a person. But I think that it’s more important to give an honest picture, rather than glorified bullshit to make me look like a good/cool person, because the fact of the matter is that I was a bold-faed liar who was strung out and cared more about maintaining my addictive habit than important relationships and bonds…
I’m out of paper – next time I’ll explain the method we used to reproduce paychecks. How Ashley and I got together and how our relationship came to an end. Also, my living situation, and a $20 heroin deal gone bad, which resulted in guns drawn and shots fired…..
PS) If anyone feels inclined to write to me, feel free…. I have plenty of time for pen pals. Or if you have questions….. You an write in the comment section of the blog, and my mom will copy and send them to me in while I’m in prison. I’ll be here 15 months, so….