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Breakfast of champions


I woke up sick. My head hurt, my teeth hurt, the large muscles of my arms and legs hurt. In my sleep I’d curled around the expanding cramp in the pit of my stomach and my back, neck and shoulders were stiff and sore. I was shivering yet sweating and stuck to the sheets. My nose dripped, my eyes burned and I needed to get to the toilet before diarrhea burst from me in a stinking torrent. But that would have to wait. I knew my disease. And I knew my cure. At nineteen I was already an expert.

I poked a finger into the gap behind the bedhead, extracting a small zip-lock plastic bag, sliding the sides between thumb and forefinger, popping it open with a nail. My hands shaking only slightly I carefully tapped three pink rocks, each a little smaller than a match-head, into the bent tablespoon on the bedside table. I dipped the already blunted needle-tip into the glass of water and sucked up around half a ml, squirting it in slow circles around the spoon, dissolving the grey dregs of last night’s bliss into the rosy new day.

Inverting the syringe I used the back of the plunger to crush the rocks and stir them into the mix. Pink rocks dissolve easily. There’s no need to cook them. I tried to squeeze in some citric acid from a lemon peel but it had dried out. Not to worry. It’s probably a myth that the acid alleviated the itches anyway.

The filter from last night was still in the spoon, a tiny wisp pulled from a cigarette now soaked with Burma’s number one export. It wasn’t there to trap impurities but to help sponge up every drop of the solution and to protect the needle tip from being blunted even further on the spoon. Sliding it in circles as I sucked up the last of the hit was my favourite part of the thrice daily ritual.

I was ready. I didn’t use a tourniquet. My veins were good, thanks to surfing and the constant typing that came with my daytime job. Between computer programming and selling smack I was easily able to fund my own habit and even give a little away to my junkie friends. I like looking after my friends.

The needle stung as I pushed it through the scar tissue inside my elbow but I immediately found the spot and a small red flower bloomed in the syringe when I jacked back the plunger. Then it was away.

The rush was exquisite, starting at the base of my spine and bursting into hair raising tingles up the back of my skull. All my pains and discomforts, physical and emotional, just dissolved and washed away, giving way to a warm, relaxed euphoria. The distinct bitter-metallic flavour/smell filled my throat and nose and a not unpleasant nausea grew in my belly. I wouldn’t vomit though. Most other junkies I knew did but not me. I could always ride it out without chucking my bikkies no matter how big the hit. I absently scratched at my nose, already scabbed from countless other unfeeling scratches.

Heroin gives you magical powers. With it you can stand up to anything life throws at you. Without it you’re not a mild mannered reporter. You’re a sick, anxious, self-hating wreck. After a while on smack your pains and inadequacies, your career and possessions, your friends and family, your health and self-respect all vanish up your sleeve. And none of it matters as long as you can get another taste. Not that I couldn’t give it up if I wanted to. I already had. Several times.

Maybe it’s no coincidence that the world’s best heroin comes from that famous triangle of lawless borderland where Thailand, Laos and Burma meet. Smack is Buddhist. It teaches the First Noble Truth. Life is suffering. You become aware of pain you never knew you had until it was suddenly relieved. It’s like putting down a heavy load you’ve been carrying all day and feeling so light you can fly. Then it drops it all back on you with interest and you can never ignore it again.

After returning from the bathroom and a sensual warm shower I stuffed my reeking bedsheets into a bag already holding a week’s dirty clothes and headed for the laundromat. On the way, as per another of my habits, I picked up a litre of ice-cold orange juice to relieve my dry mouth and wash away the flavour of my panacea.

Striding down Bondi Road I knock back half the bottle in a swig. It’s only when the cold juice hits my warm stomach that I realise it’s off. The small fuzzy ball of nausea suddenly erupts up my esophagus out through my mouth and nose onto the footpath. A middle aged man coming the other way carefully steps around it while equally carefully avoiding my glance. It’s disgusting. It’s humiliating. But it doesn’t matter. Nothing does.

From → autobiography

One Comment
  1. Smiles.. My friend.. I’ve been wandering the poppy fields of Oz more often in my life than not.. Perhaps the all natural gift of Bi-Polar that in my case is mostly Oz instead of melting witches.. And i didn’t get diagnosed until the pscychiatrist observed what i was in Oz.. Away from hell in now for the 66 months i spent there.. The diagnosis a valued one too.. Extending my happy re-Tirement to regular retirement age with the government this June at 56.. Anyway yeah i feel almost always invincible in what used to be Clark Kent clothes.. Don’t even need tights or cape now and have staying in heaven now down to a science of art at least for me.. Relaxing higher than ever in the poppy field(S) of Oznow..:)


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