Painting Hearts Instead of Scoring Coke

heart

My blood is hot scotch desirous, animalistic unpredictability coursing and I can feel my pupils pounding, black holes swallowing the whites of my eyes. I’m right between euphoria and murder, the golden moment right before you rise into heaven or fall into hell.

I want need some cocaine. 

It’s always the same thing, the sweet burn of the luminous golden scotch mingling with my tongue, tickling the very depths of me with every swallow, the tinkling crystal tumbler raised and tilted at a glib angle as the scotch ripples through me like a stone thrown into a pond. I’m one smiling, laughing witticism after another two or three doubles deep. This is civilized, radiance pushing the dread from my center, a glowing amber ocean in a glass literally scorching the earth of my anxiety, every gulp like a whispering friend encouraging me to live, to be alive, giving me life, new life and new needs, new ways to fulfill those new needs for my new life writing these words, hell, I need a drink. 

I love that phrase, it’s the only honest protest we have left, “I need a drink,” implies isolation and frustration and a reprieve from it all into sexy danger and abundant power, the righteous murder of the maiming our minds do unto us, something everyone can understand. S/he needs a drink. X happened and now Y is Z. S/he deserves a drink.

Tara’s driving my car flying above the purring German engine, the power of it intoxicating, her eyes burning embers ready to catch flame and I see myself inside her eyes, little ellipses containing my deepest reflections. She says we’re siblings. I see it.  

I have her take me south to the lake near the place I got evicted from and I just missed my girl. I walk across the street to this shitty bar PIZZA, the other letters sizzling and popping on and off until the shuddering, crackling A finally explodes popping into the darkness shooting slivers of sparkles that shower down from it like a sparkler, leaving a single blinking Z. Everyone briefly looks outside at the little explosion and I look through the faces for someone familiar. Nothing. I light a Parliament with my head buried in my phone texting the people you text on nights like these nights. I look around like I’m lost, that’s how I feel, and my eyes lay upon a kid with a mad shine in his eyes sitting on a stump of green gun metal, the Seattle Weekly box, his legs dangling over the side. He starts talking to me in rapid fire and I notice his face has meth all over it, and he’s speeding through something about how it’s his first night in Seattle, “My fuckin’ girl got pregnant, maaan, so I hopped on this greyhound with no ticket dude and without saying shit and just got the fuck outta there but she has this uncle and—” Lovely. I think he thought we were friends because we both witnessed the A explode. I nod and return to Tara, letting him tell his stories to the wind. She’s sitting parked in my car waiting me out and anyone else would have infuriated me just for existing; I’m flustered and frustrated and hating drugs, hating the lack of drugs, hating that I hate the lack of drugs but Tara is like valium with a heartbeat and no matter what and no matter how badly I want coke I want Tara to be okay more. This is the first friendship I’ve ever had, I think. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a friend my whole life.

My wise voice, as Tara might say, is murmuring maybe screaming something about how this is actually serendipity, not loss and that’s true, cocaine turns me inside out into a hungry carnivorous violence I never even let myself believe could exist in me and without fail I end up at some ugly hour of the morning in my shower sobbing, blowing burning chunks of ammonia and ephedrine out of my scorched face hating everything most especially myself trying to wash the fury and hopelessness off of me, shoveling sedatives and beta blockers down my throat knowing they won’t fucking work because nothing fucking works because I’m on coke and coke doesn’t work.

Now we’re in the middle of Capitol Hill, 12th and Pike, one block from the succubus-girl and the condo we lived in where she almost murdered me and everyone is screaming and everything is drugs and pounding bass and kids in middle school and college running around like insane insects in a hive; the people are all game tonight the air electrified with cheap cologne and perfume, hormones and pheromones and the shit-coke I know is down in the grottos along the avenue waiting for me like that evil girl used to, sitting so gently on her bed looking bashful even timid when I would finally crawl back right until she leaped off my cock into the bathroom to vomit and scream, yes, the things I came here for are here. I watch some kid piss on a garbage can. I watch another kid piss on a street corner. This is a carnival of piss, colorfully terrifying, everything pressing into me from all sides like walls of skin crushing me from all directions and this place is a shining blood-red apple staring at me daring my teeth to sink into it like a vampire staring into a throbbing jugular, sticky blood and apple juice flowing down from my jaws onto my chin dribbling down impossible to stop until my hands are sticky and my fingers snap when I pull my hands apart from themselves because I am going to eat this city.

My face is a razor blade on a cokeless mirror, chopping at the clear glass, cutting at the sides— “Alex, you want to see the one that really fucked me up?” I’m in the car sweating venom and Tara will show more of her demons to me, she knows this shit so well. “This is Angela.” She shows me a video of Angela on my phone reading poetry written for Tara. I see a face made of old bone holding two small smoldering eye sockets and as Tara tells me about the Christmas they spent together where Angela pulled a knife on her in a fit of paranoid rage after smashing her boot through Tara’s fragile gifts I start to forget the coke. I don’t forget the coke. The craving becomes polluted with the better nature of my soul as I see Tara clutching at her face in pain as she watches this video and I see why Tara would love this girl made from bone metal— her face is devoid of love and Tara likes to let her heart get strangled. “I know!” I scream. We’ve watched two videos of this horrendous skeletal woman on a stage reading poetry about Tara and I’ve just come up with the best fucking idea.

“Let’s paint!” 

Now, some would say that doing graffiti in the middle of crowded streets full of people and cops is not the smartest thing, especially after having already pressed my luck and beaten a big graffiti charge a few years back. 

I disagree with those people. 

My trunk is stocked. For a moment I freak out, did all the caps go into the duffel bag that’s at the house? Nope, a big lime-green cap sits on top of a red can like a cherry on a sundae. I light it up and sure enough the cap is good (caps often jam with congealed paint and become unusable) tonight we’re having good fortune. Incidentally, we’re parked right in front of the place where I did one of my first pieces, a little monster guy that was up for some five years and has now disappeared. It’s this big sunken parking lot with this huge, huge wall covered entirely with graffiti and I am taking Tara for a ride. We stroll away, a red can and a black can clinking in her blue purse. We casually walk down some steps to a gangplank that leads down further to the lot and I survey it for cops and other undesirables. Nobody except a couple in the middle of either a break up or a make up, I can’t decide. We get down to the bottom and I look at the wall where my beautiful piece used to be. It’s covered in all new graffiti, much of it very, very good. This may sound fucked up, but I love to tag over good blaster-pieces. My rationale is two-fold: 1. Graffiti is all about fucking up other people’s walls and nobody owns shit no matter how pretty or how long they spent on it and 2. Painting over good art will force more good art onto the streets. 

I’m pretty certain there are a few people who disagree, would put a baseball bat to my head if they saw what I did. I don’t care. I ask Tara for the red can with the cap and she hands it to me and I see her in my periphery with her head on a swivel looking for oncoming cops as I just mangle these walls, red hearts everywhere in about two minutes the entire parking lot looks like Valentines day. We walk up the slanted drive past the couple who look and smile. Making up. Good. When we reach the street I notice that my trigger fingers are covered in red paint. Fuck. Oncoming sirens.

Go.

I start down the avenue the way it would make sense to go but quickly reverse course, Tara trailing a few yards and we go right back through the lot I just smothered with hearts because everything graffiti is counterintuitive, including getting busted— the cops rarely think to look at the spot that just got hit, why would the idiot taggers still be there, right? Right. We’re back on safety in my car. “Painting hearts with the cops after you is better than smack,” I tell her, my eyes virtually rolling back in my head. Both of us are huffing and puffing and grinning like idiots as we drive the fuck out of there. The craving for coke has not left me but the need for it has. Tara drives me back to her place and I bid her farewell before I drive myself home, by now sobered up from the scotch, where I sleep a most restful sleep, the clinking and spraying of paint cans and the tinkling of crystal tumblers an amalgamate of hissing and chiming softly in time like a strange lullaby keeping time with my cooling blood and my slowing heart all the way deep into my dreams.

Alex Reading Prose @ The In on January 26

Alex Ziperovich reads an excerpt from his memoir, titled “Junkie Goes To Hospital”. Enjoy.

Painting Prozac

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By Alexander Michael Ziperovich
I climb back into the ketamine cave and into the fire, into the luminescent thrashing mind-rape of disassociation. I’m inside Annie’s condo and everything is spinning and shooting these beautiful, malevolent stars and nothing makes any kind of sense. Everything is a fucking mess in my head. Her disorder is on full blast tonight and she’s toying with me on the K, telling me I’m hurting her, she’s screaming at me playing these twisted back and forth games that I can’t even understand in my identity-challenged, ego-blurred condition. She is cannibalizing me as I try to numb or poison her voice out of me. I feel some dark masochistic crevasse inside of me, some tumorous cave within is actually enjoying all this pain. The screaming mixed with the ketamine like a storm, the K hurts me and I feel my brain liquefying but more for me is good, the K talks to me and it just says more and everything is simple that way.

Finally, she goes to “sleep” after circling, hovering around me like a vulture as I sit hunched over my pile of glistening powder like a praying priest. She was stomping her big legs down into the wooden floor, enraged, all around me screaming and screaming and I don’t understand why or about what, not that the K is responsible for that, I’ve never understood what she does or why. I stay up to snort more powder, of course. She’s upright in her bed just howling for hours days weeks years, she’s dying for me to come to bed, to come lay down next to her, a wounded shrieking beast. Even now on the unmoving K platform of cognitive paralysis I know somewhere deep inside that she is gone, that my lovely Angie, the Angie I thought I had or would have or would have had, that that Angie, she’s gone because she never existed. In that long and beautiful dream we shared, us both privy to those few perfect moments but all of it is lost forever, it was never really real. It was drug-induced chemistry like a beautiful nod after a perfect shot of good heroin. The worst moment doing smack isn’t when you’re all the way sober after a really exquisite shot and you feel filled with the anguish of loss. No, the worst part is when you’re just coming to and barely sober enough to realize you are going to be truly sober again. You think about time and how badly you want to just go back and stay there in that wondrous warmth forever. That’s what it’s like with her, I just want to go back to the way things used to be but Angie, the pretty ugly butterfly from the broken cocoon is now resigned in my mind to the equivalent of a dirty black splotch of residue on a burnt spoon after I woke up from our dream, wistful reminiscent, thinking about all that fleeting, impossible to hold on to beauty, wasted gone but I’m still chasing her because I think how, “You do this thing that makes me believe it’s still there and I can’t leave you, baby. I feel abandoned and wrong and scared and crazy, too.”

Let me go, fucking let me go, let me fucking die alone at the bottom of a dark hole. Just no more of these nights. No more pain. Please, no more.

I rise up from the chair I’ve been glued to with K and she’s screaming harder and louder as she hears me trying to slip on my shoes and jacket. I’m trying to be quiet so she doesn’t know I’m leaving or else she’ll stop me but I have no coordination and as I grab some cans of red paint I’m making noise bumping into walls and her door. I stagger out and down the stair well and I start crying as I walk into her lobby, numb and I feel something, some part of me is dying. I fall out of her building into the heaving rain and the black wet night takes me into its arms and I start painting these big sloppy hearts on every flat surface I see. It’s a kind of frenzied reverie for me and I do this when her apartment is filled with too much horror and when I do this I run and I paint and I sweat as I run and it feels invigorating, all the rain pouring down my face onto my chest with the sweat dripping down my face as I write and I write and I write, I LOVE YOU and LOVE and IF NO ONE LOVES YOU I DO and my red dripping hearts are everywhere after a few seconds. I spray on walls that look lonely and dark, like I’m painting hearts on myself. I’m looking up through tears back at the rain being tossed from the sky as if to argue with the sky as the clouds smash down into my face commingling with the sheen of tears and snot running out of my nose.

I call my mom, delirious. I’m in so much pain. She is trying to talk gently to me as I pace around painting walls in black drenched avenues using my phone and a lighter for light to write my little LOVE idioms. My mom keeps trying to figure out what the fuck is going on at 4:47 at fucking Angie’s place. My body is jerking these little sounds out of my mouth through my desperate crying to her and I look at some cars speeding up Madison and I think that it might be better to just walk into the paved street and lay down on the soft, gleaming concrete in a little puddle and wait for something to just take the pain out but something says no. “Mom, whaaat… the… fuuuuuuuuuuck?” But she doesn’t know why. None of us know, her family, mine, me, her. No one fucking cares.

I think about her as I push my body down the street with my phone and my can. This poor fucking girl, already in so much psychic and emotional pain that her pain is all there is now. I never wanted to hurt her; I wanted to save her so she was able to save herself. Maybe by witnessing me kill myself through drugs and I said to her without words, I said, “I’ll be the sacrificial lamb. I’ll die for you, I know you want me to. I’ll do it for you, baby.”

I’m talking to myself and my mom and Angie who sits inside my head as a screaming that echoes in my skull at the same time, walking, staring up at the black nothingness squinting trying to see something through the endless sheets of cold droplets.

Everything hurts and every time I spray a big stupid red heart on a wall and I watch it drip crawling down to the street I feel a little relief from this nightmare. I see some cold junkie walking alone through this same lonely rain in the same lonely pain seeing my dripping hearts. I hope he sees them and he feels better or warmer. I want someone to feel some relief from all this. I’m passing on love Angie keeps telling me I don’t even have to give but this aerosol paint on these broken concrete streets in a downpour creating these horribly broken totems for the hopeless and the damned makes me feel better.

I tell myself I give everything I have to give, but it isn’t that much anymore. I gave her everything. More.
Her and the drugs took most of me.

The drugs robbed me of so much. I work with what I have left, some streaky red graffiti that looks like sad, dripping ignored love notes smothered in darkness, running off of walls into gutters like the buildings are bleeding.

I’m walking down these empty streets with the sky smashing into my face clutching my single can of red paint spraying it until it’s dead and I throw it, sending it careening into the street and suddenly she appears at my neck, grabbing at my arms, hissing at me like knives.

I’ll always be alone and then I will die of prostate cancer.

Allow Me To Introduce You To Evil Incarnate Or The Good Doctor

By Alexander Michael Ziperovich

I’ve had a thousand experiences with astonishingly demented sociopath sadist pseudo-medicine men physicians during my grand tour of all the rehabs in the universe but this is the one scumbag with a DEA license that beats them all, just cooks it black and crispy, raw meat cooked with a blow torch. This guy, I forget his name but his name isn’t important. He’s short, so he’s got the short-man complex and he’s small and square and jagged like a block of wood, burning fire internally and his eyes, it was in his eyes where you could see what he wanted, his needs, right there the beady little black fucking abominations that allowed him his vision, that the world tolerated the rapturous desecration of everything upon his gaze itself is somewhat mind boggling. Fucking animal, this “healer of men”. Like I said, it was ALL in the EYES, each eyeball having a different sort of sick and twisted agenda, each eye speaking its own language of hate and malice and deception and iniquity.

He was a machine built in hell’s own garage by the Devil himself, so help me God.

Dr. Brand, that’s his godforsaken fucking name. That man, if that is what you would call him, the things he did to me, fuck. We’ll get there.  So let me explain first how I came to be in his possession. See, guys like me, we like drugs. Hard drugs. Good drugs. Bad drugs. Scary drugs. Mean drugs. Nice drugs. DRUGS. We like fucking getting fucking high as fucking shit. Around that time it was the Ketamine slash MDMA era, meaning for those that don’t know, I was playing with some very entertaining toys that affected some very special and sensitive parts of my silly little puddle of a brain. I don’t know how I can still spell T H E after all the fucking ketamine I snorted and injected. Anyhoot, I walked into this fuckers rehab smiling at flowers and basically sporting a skull with a brain inside that was in remission and upside down and inside out, the fucking thing was not working right and I was up for grabs for any sadistic motherfucker that would have it like that so thank the good Lord himself King/Queen Dahmer wasn’t around cause I would’ve been one of his masks he liked to wear around the house casually. I mean, really, I was very, very scrambled. Look, I was talking to myself, smoking huge cigars in the rain in a tank top and shorts at bus stops, hunting for nonexistent bags of cocaine with my Labrador in a suit and tie on the beach in the middle of the night, shit like that. You get the fucking picture. ALSO, please care to note that ketamine is what is commonly referred to as a dissasociative drug (its legitimate use is anesthesia for cats and horses and the other four leggers): but with human beans, you unbecome yourself experiencing ego death, you are not you, there is no you. Right. Okay. Hold on tight, grab a loved ones hand.

So, my non-self is sleeping in this shitty non-house with a cracked, crooked foundation and two rotating shifts of fat Mexicans handing out the rehab pills but wait! The fucking nurse bitches are handing out narcotics, it’s not hard to tell when you’re in a rehab jonesing so hard you would take on Tyson in his heyday for half a vicodin so word gets around, you know? So I am completely Stanley Kubricked out right now, cannot process this insanity, I just can’t make any of this make sense to me; they’re handing out morphine and oxycontin to the patients in a rehab? What the fuck kind of devious plot have they entrapped me in this time, jesus fucking christ. You shall see, my friend, you shall see.

So I’m in this scam rehab which Dr. Brand has created as essentially a pain clinic practice with a few houses to stuff some junkies in and it’s all intermingled and mixed up like salad and it makes no sense but he’s making great money, I mean, what junkie doesn’t want to go to rehab and get their pharmaceutical fix and be told that that is the correct treatment methodology? All of em do stupid! God you’re dumb.

Anyway the first time I get in the van and they take me to the “office” and he sees my drooping, amused face, eyes wandering around innocently like so many balloons in the sky at a local carnival he immediately targets me for extreme punishment, brainwashing, and physical and psychic pain and I could not have been an easier target, it was like I was a small child being told by a massive tattooed rapist that I could get a ride home if need be, and accepting that ride because the child was lost, and god damn if my child wasn’t lost as shit, deep in the slums.

He immediately barks at one of his nurses “Two milligrams intramuscular Ativan, stat!” and I fucking love benzodiazepines so I’m like YAY! and I pull my pants down and take a nice shot, stinging in my butt like some dramatic part in a symphony. Ahhh, relaxxxxeeeeed. “Come into my office, let me get to know what’s going on with you so I can help you to recover.” I oblige. And then it starts.

Note this if you may. Now. To be honest, my biggest problem as a writer writing autobiographically is that I have taken so many fucking benzodiazepines (xanax, valium, klonopin, ativan, serax) I have no memory or what little memory I have is very foggy and vague, like you can see the lighthouse through the storm, but only because you can see the light IN the lighthouse because without the light there is no lighthouse in my world. Good, I’m glad we’re together on this.

So I can’t tell you every single fucking word this evil cretin spit out at me in my very suggestible, relaxxxxeeed, ativan filled state, but let us just say this: he convinced me my parents hated me (opposite of the truth although they should), that I was probably gang raped by an entire Mexican drug cartel at some satanic initiation ritual in the desert when I was 8 or 12 and all other types of sordid insane shit. He was just having his little fun with me, toying around, and I had no where to go because my mind, it was weak, it was weak, my mind it was Edgar Allen Poe delirious and dying in the streets of London, collapsed, my mind it was Tyson after years of drugs getting a Maori tattoo and fighting MMA, my mind it was weak, it was the bodies’ antibodies trying to fight off the bubonic plague without penicillin, I mean WEAK. I had no defense whatsoever and he would bring me in every fucking day, unlike the other people in the house, and just sit me in an exam room and mindfuck me for hours, I mean this guy really, really was enjoying himself and who am I to say NO to a fucking shot of ativan, what are you kidding? I absolutely love that shit, I live for it. I knew what he was doing but I liked the ativan poke in my butt so I kinda just let it happen, like a girl that really doesn’t want to have sex but says “Fuck it, I’ll get something out of this, maybe some perfume.” The perfume was my ativan was my perfume was the ativan. So, I let him fuck me between the ears every day.

Okay, so that’s happening every day and each day I am becoming more and more lucid and my head is clearing up from all the lovely chemistry experimentation I performed in there and I begin to pace around the empty pool at the house calling my mom begging for her to come rescue me from this evil sadist fuck. No. Fuck.

Then it happens.

It’s sunny and I assume I’m going for another fucking glorious mindfuck session plus some ativan if I’m a good boy and do as the nice doctor tells me and I repeat after him type shit. I arrive at his office and I’m sitting there in his waiting room reading a pamphlet on how suboxone saved some Mexican woman’s life from heroin addiction and how a housewife in Wisconsin, formerly addicted to oxycontin, believes it to be essentially the same as insulin for a diabetic. [I AM COMING OFF SUBUTEX/SUBOXONE (SAME THING) RIGHT NOW AGAIN AS I WRITE IT IS NOT GOOD IT IS NOT EASY TO GET OFF OF IT IS A HELLISH, EVIL, HORRIFYING SUBSTITUTE ADDICTION THAT WILL EAT YOUR HEART AND LIVER AND SPLEEN AND MAKE A SALAD WITH IT AND SERVE IT TO YOU WITH A NICE VINEGARETTE SPRINKLED WITH THE PEPPERCORNS OF YOUR BROKEN SOUL] Where was I? Oh. Right. The waiting room, waiting, waiting for my ativan brainwashing therapy injection conference. The short little ignoble goblin bastard walks in and pulls my ass into the back dungeon area where he performs his Dachau experiments and he brings me to a totally different room I’ve never been privy to before and he lays me in this bizarre Hannibal Lecter leather chair contraption and begins to explain to me, and this is after a particularly massive dose of IM ativan (I believe he had his nurse adminster 4 fucking milligrams so I was on drool-mode) that my addiction wasn’t actually addiction but rather it was physical PAIN! Yes yes, physical pain emanating from my neck, yes he could tell by examining the way I walked and spoke and stood and that was my problem, yes, yes, there would be no more fuss over some so-called “heroin addiction” no, no I deserved to be treated humanely didn’t I? Of course I did and my neck, it was my neck, he knew that it was just because he knew and he was a maniacal but loving sociopathic genius and he would repair my life this moment and-

He begins to place his hard stubby fingers into the nerves in my neck so hard I begin twitching and shaking and he begets me so much pain that I am screaming now, screaming at the top of my lungs and of course he hollers for a nurse and orders me up some dopiates, I think he gave me two Lortabs that first time (equivelent to four regular Vicodin) and one 10 mg Opana and I am dizzy with pain but at the same time he’s giving me the drug I love so I am bound to him in our chemical romance and as I stagger away from his torture center he walks up behind me all cool and casual and does his neck pinch again, just once, a few nurses and patients around and DROPS ME TO MY MOTHERFUCKING KNEES with a pinch, I mean I gotta give this piece of shit fuck credit, he knew how to hit nerves god damn he did, I mean literally I am barely walking away, trying to run away after I took my pills to go smoke a cigarette and ponder all this insanity in the sun outside and he literally has the ability to walk up behind me and drop me like a fucking person falling off a building WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS MAN MADE OF?  I believe he is a concoction of one part demon, one part sugar, one part black tar heroin, one part DEA, one part penitentiary rape, one part love for hatred, one part Nazi, one part Jew, one part Stalin, one part Mao, and the rest of him was basically the Khmer Rouge with Pol Pot on his left shoulder and a headless child victim of the regime on his right shoulder all singing Symphonies of brutality and damnation to him. In other words, he is a fucking MAD MAN from hell itself on steroids with his confidante being Dante’s guide. What the fuck?

My neck is fucked. He hurt me bad. I am in serious fucking pain and I am so fucking terrified that this insane doctor has injured me for life that I start calling non-stop back home to Seattle, back to headquarters of rehab placement to get me the FUCK out of THERE NOW I am being decimated by a Doctor Evil Please Help MOMMY, SERIOUSLY, this is no joke. None of that matters to them but the second I mention he gave me opiates, my dad the doctor and my mom the caretaker of a long time opiate addict switch gears quick as lightning and reverse their stance completely- apparently there is a one doctor to another conversation that takes place where there is an explanation for giving an opiate addict opiates and he tells my dad the same fucking thing, that I injured my neck playing football and THAT is the reason I keep getting high, not cause I’m an addict or anything even though I’ll snort smoke or shoot anything you have anytime you have it. My parents are not convinced of this doctors methods but they don’t immediately pull me but I don’t give this cocksucker another chance to shatter my spine any more I just won’t let him touch me, he can talk his brainwash shit, which is still in full effect AND working but no, no, he CANNOT touch my fucking, god damned neck, yeah I’m in pain and I want some painkillers dumbfuck doctor fuck face a million but you CAN’T do what you did I’m already fucked up from the one time you did touch me. His explanation is that he simply brought out the pain that was already there and I was somehow psychologically repressing, ummm yeah dude, right, just give me my pills asshole and you can tell me Hitler had me raped at God’s request I don’ fucking care.

Finally, finally, finally, in all its grand finality, I am released from the iron grip of this medical dictator torturer magician and I am moved to a new, very comfortable rehab in Malibu, California which is extremely plush and chill but which I fuck up anyway but fucking around every chance I get even though I have a king bed and gourmet food. Whatever. Got kicked out of there too, oops. I had beef with this beak-nosed counselor who I would always out-smart in group and make look like a foolish crow. Ha. Like I’m not used to being sent around to different places, psych wards, etc? Come come, this is me we’re talking about, my rehab count at this point is already in its late teens. The bitch that got me kicked out of plushville rehab was named Helen I believe and she truly needed to get fucking FUCKED out of her mind. Sorry, but she really did, dumb cunt probably couldn’t get a guy to get within ten feet of her on consideration of her nose might fly out of her face like a bald eagle and attack.

My Friend Jamie, My Poor, Poor Friend Jamie

By Alexander Ziperovich

It was really just me and this obese woman, a drug counselor incidentally, in this rehab. There was the Indian that smoked heroin and bitched about his need to go drive his non-existent Porsche and the Mexican he paid for his dope, how he wanted to kill this fucker. He was a farce- but fuck he was built like a fucking panzer tank or better, a gasoline tanker truck, I mean this massive asshole actually had a jet black pony tail! We didn’t get along after I walked in on him showering in my bathroom. Me and the Indian, no we didn’t get along at all and I left him alone but his eyes really didn’t ever leave me much alone time. So, it was all of us shuttered up in this cramped little hovel a few hundred miles north of San Diego in this post-apocalypytic wasteland suburbia apropos of hell with two twin obese freakishly round half-Mexican “caretakers” or whatever feeding us our pills and cooking bad enchiladas every single day. I mean, seriously, every day and the bulk cheese was applied like the bubonic plague in European history.

Me and the obese woman, we cliqued up right away. She was momming me and I was sonning for her and it was working beautifully at first. See, the reason she came to rehab in the first place was because she felt she needed Gastric Bypass surgery and her pain doc had her on, she said and I believed it, sixteen eighty milligram oxycontins a day plus liquid morphine to top it all off and get the cocktail tasting right. The problem here then is that with her on so much dope pain medication there would be no feasible way for this large woman to get any kind of pain control if she did happen to have gastric bypass surgery to thin her out a tad. It was all sad and amusing and we talked about her hepatitis C and her days following the dead (the grateful ones) and her son doing life in Chino and all sorts of other getting-to-know-ya shit. She took to me. She really did. I wasn’t surprised. And with sixteen eighties a day, shit, sign the adoption papers today.

The TV was the epicenter, the headquarters of the house and we watched the movie Alpha Dog continuously, which tells the true story of this little kid that’s killed with a mac 10 on a California hiking trail because of his older brother’s very insignificant drug debt. “What are we watching tonight?” You can hear the enchilada’s frying and sizzling, all that cheese, these poor fat women, Jesus. “Alpha Dog,” “Oh. Yeah, it’s good.” The Indian absolutely hated Alpha Dog and you’d hear a door slam. I liked it, kinda. I mean, shit, it wasn’t Wheel of Fortune or TV Telemundo and it pissed the Indian off.

Here’s the variable – I run out of smokes and all there is to do is sit at the table outside and smoke or watch alpha dog and eat shitty cheese smothered tortillas. So, I start bumming the obese ladies’ Camel non-filters, which she refers to as “leemacks”. The reason, she explains, is because you never want the fuzz to know what kind of cigarettes you smoke, so you smoke the unfiltered Camel’s backwards, burning up the little Camel stamp and leaving a butt with nothing but hopelessness for any homicide detective trying to find out who dun it. She learned this awhile back I take it, at least before the cops figured out DNA and fingerprinting.

I start bumming her leemacks and she isn’t very excited after I’ve devoured her 7th pack inside of 48 hours. She slows me down getting irritated. Somewhere around this time I use her nail clippers to cut my fingernails and then I remember she has hepatitis and I get a little freaked out. Uh oh, I say to myself, uh oh. I don’t want no fuckin’ interferon. Shit.

“Alex, I can’t bum you anymore smokes, I love ya but I can’t do it.” She will run out herself if I keep smoking her leemacks and I don’t want her to run out and she doesn’t want to run out and no one wants to run out of nicotine in fucking rehab because it’s fucking rehab and there are no good drugs or drinks. Bastards all of em. Burn em at the stake and pour poor liquor into their face, sober freaks.

“Oh, really? Damn. You can’t afford to bum me anymore leemacks? Shit. That’s okay. I’ll survive.”

It is time for me to get the fuck out of this pit. Post haste. No cigarettes? No, no way.

I call my friend Jamie in San Diego to come get me and he concurs. Some skinny fucker gets word that I’m leaving and comes to try to intervene and keep me hostage in the house of bubbling enchiladas and nicotine withdrawal but my mind is all made up on this one. No cigarettes? Cocksucker even offers to buy me a pack. A pack? He limps away all fatalistic away from my roaring laughter. So, I wait at this tropical Tiki Hut themed bar drinking Coronas this older woman keeps blessing me with acting as if I were Macauley Culkin before the heroin (again, I have this effect on older white women, don’t ask me why) and I’m twirling one of those little toothpick umbrellas in my mouth in the sun feeling great. Jamie makes the two and a half hour trip and I see BMW M3 pull up and I’m out like a fucking ghost in the night, although it is daylight and there is no one to put up a fight, except maybe Charlene or Chandra or whoever the old blond is, she wanted me to stay. Sorry Chayenne. She smiles wistfully and waves goodbye.

What I have not thus far mentioned is that I generated a generous benzodiazepine habit along with my usual opiate one: xanax 20 mg a day, klonopin 10 or how about I just greedily pour the fuckers down my throat as much as I can without choking to death. I would ask that the reader keep in mind that this is only really like my fifth or sixth detox/rehab and so I’m still learning the ropes, day by day. I figure that the bullshit WWI benzo the enchilada twins are feeding me (brand name Serax; extremely short half life and worthless for a buzz FYI) doesn’t mean shit and isn’t doing shit but I have yet to learn the delicacies of a benzo withdrawal…

Naturally, I assume I’ll be completely fine. And I am. Dandy. The drive back is stupendous, I’m free, free at last, from rehab and obese women with leemacks and bad enchiladas and mean heroin smoking Indians and Alpha Dog and the whole damn thing and I get to Jamies house and some  dudes are sitting there on his front porch thriving on forty ouncers and blunts and I get with them and catch a taste of Cannabis Sativa and Mickeys Malt Liquor and we chill. A few hours pass and everything is all good, gravy, gratuitously great.

What’s this weird feeli-
EVERYTHING GOES INCREDIBLY FUCKING WRONG.

My heart is going to leap out of my chest like in that movie Alien with Sigourney Weaver and I start shaking like a leaf in a storm and I am burning up, red like a lobster shell with a temperature of one hundred and hell degrees. I feel as if I am about to expire. This is definitely not opiate withdrawal. Now it’s time to find out via the internet that if you don’t titrate off benzos very slowly you catch a fun seizure and your ass goes spasmodic and you fucking die, well, my ass fucking dies. Fuck. My poor friend Jamie, my poor, poor friend, he’s happily spinning music on his turntables and I’m trying to bury myself in his couch, burrowing, burrowing. I cannot escape my biology I realize and I suddenly leap up and shriek at Jamie: “We need to go the fuck back now! I am going to die here! It will be everything but dignified! Vamanos!” I am very reluctant to return to bad enchilada land but I know they have that Serax shit there. My “brother” (yeah fucking right, Brady) who said that if I needed anything to call him and who lives literally minutes away does not answer my thousands of phone calls and text messages and who is a complete junkie pharmacist and who would have, I am certain, been able to procure me some valium or something. I’m betting Brady’s high watching the sci fi channel playing with Fentanyl patches, selfish fucking asshole. Oh, Brady recently found Jesus and sobriety after doing a year in the county after trying to kill the sky with a .357 Magnum on the roof of his moms mamsion with the cops surrounding his house and a red dot stuck to his skull. Whatever, he isn’t an option so we go and I’m riding shotgun in the M3 telling this poor child friend Jamie to hit the motherfucking gas. “Get this bastard moving, it’s an M3 isn’t it?!” We pass several police traps and I inform poor young Jamie, who has had yet to catch his own habits, to fucking fly by em’ and keep going or I will die in the county jail. As in, if a pig tries us, speeeeeeed the fuck up with the pedal directly on the motherfucking metal.

We are now about 22 minutes from our signature destination; where the Serax (still a shitty benzo, but hey, a benzo’s a benzo when your heart’s about to explode) lives and I have to piss from drinking Malt Liquor so fucking bad that I am screaming while also shaking, biting my jaw into itself so hard my mouth is a swamp of teeth, blood and bile.

Now we are 19 minutes out and the piss is just going to have to go somewhere at this point and we are not fucking stopping no fucking way my heart keeps stopping and starting and stopping and starting and I don’t want it to stop entirely the way it would if we stopped we are not stopping we are not stopping no cops no tanks no armies we are not fucking stopping Jamie do you understand James? Fucking hit the fucking gas you pussy motherfucker!

ETA 11 minutes and there’s a scramble to find a bottle, but the one I find has nothing I need, it is one of those shitty Pepsi bottles with the incredibly tiny holes. I give it a good shot, I mean I fucking try, but I got a big dickhead and while were on dickheads lets just come right out with the fact that I am a Ron Jeremy sized Dickhead for what takes place. I really do my best to get it in there but it is as if the hoover damn, or I don’t know, the entire fucking ocean is just coming up out of me and this little Pepsi bottle is just mocking me as this river of urine explodes around it and it ain’t catching much of anything at all so finally, I give up and in glorious, relieved, graceful, beautiful defeat and I just lay my ass back piss flying everywhere, a tide of piss cascading down off his seat going off into and filling up every part of his once urine-less BMW. Right as I’m squeezing out the last few drops, smiling dumbly, piss still dripping down off his seat into the pond that is his car he pulls up to the house. The look on his face is priceless as I pause, think of something to say, forget it and open the door and exit, shaking the pool of piss off of my shirt and shorts onto the street and I look at Jamie and his eyes are wide and shell-shocked like he just witnessed a murder or a fucking man die of Ebola in his car, “Uhhh, what the fuck, okay. Okay, great. Fuck. Fuck. Yeah, no problem on the ride, fuck. Oh my god, what the fuck. Yeah, I’ll see you, man. Later du-,” and as he screeches out of the drive way he makes a u-turn and it looks like he’s trying to spin the car so fast the piss will just all somehow fly out or evaporate.

My Friend Jamie, My Poor, Poor Friend Jamie.

Jamie, next time you cannot piss in my BMW when you’re coming off of your Xanax habit.

This one’s for you ol’ boy, take it like an apology or something bro. I’m glad we’re still friends because if you pissed all over my M3 I may have had you murdered and thrown into a hole in the desert. Love ya, pal.

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