Saturday, 30 June 2007

Chapter 19 - Out of Body



“The biologist Lyall Watson believes out-of-body experiences have a vital function - at moments of intense danger, they allow the conscious mind to view the body from a safe vantage point. While people more focused on the spiritual world might describe it as our astral body connected by the silver cord to our body.”

May 1997

And then snap like a rubber band I found myself looking out through my own two eyes.

“Shit man, ya gave me a fuckin fright, as soon as ya shot up, ya started to go purple, ya stopped breathin…… fuck man that scared the shit outa me, I thought I was gunna have ta call the bloody ambulance. Once I gave ya a few breaths of air ya came around, ya need to watch use less man! Fuck that was a close call…….”, Peter said as he rubbed his forehead.

I wondered was this dude trying to take advantage of me while I was asleep or was he helping me. I wasn’t sure it made me nervous, I didn’t feel physically threatened I was much bigger than Peter, but it was a blurring of reality.

I always got the biggest rush when ever I overdosed. Not because I overdosed as such but because in order to OD usually a person must ingest good quality heroin. So in the process of ingesting it the user experiences an intense rush as the drug takes effect. It may lead to respiratory collapse, and death.

Junkies hated it when people overdosed. If they had to call an ambulance that would attract attention, which could put them in a compromising situation. People take drugs to escape from responsibility but if someone OD’s around them, they have to look after them. Which might mean giving CPR or mouth to mouth, cleaning up their spew, shit and piss or calling for medical intervention, which might lead to the police being attracted. There was no honor among junkies.

This reminded me of another Peter, Peter Benson, who used to hang out at the exchange.

He was a charming fellow who was rather intelligent, but he had managed to develop an insane addiction to heroin. He had HIV/AIDS and it was killing him slowly and very visibly. His arms and face were covered with lesions and the couches in his house all had little towels on the arm rests to soak up the blood.

You see he had gone to Bangkok to score heroin. Which he did, he just never left the country with it. He got as far as sitting in the plane on the runway, thinking he had made it when, half a dozen Thai cops stormed onto the plane and arrested him. Peter spent 10 years in a Bangkok gaol where he got AIDS. He eventually died from an AIDS related illness.

Like all successful junkies I was great at networking and Peter was a great contact. I could usually get smack and speed fairly easily and was happy to let me shoot up at his grimy little apartment in Miami. Unlike Ralph who could also score for me, but utterly refused for anybody to shoot up at his house other than him. On rare occasions when he was stoned he might bend this rule, but generally he was totally opposed to it.

Peter was quite a character and a brazen homosexual who would often proposition me. This was never going to go further than Pete’s, imagination as I was sickened by the idea. Peter was not a very attractive man, but besides that he was a man, and although I had the occasional gay fantasy, gay sex was not something I sort out.

Peter phoned one day and said, “Hey Dave how you doin, just wondering if you might like to come to a party with a few of my friends? I was wondering if you could come and, ah….. flog us all, you know with a leather whip, and you all dressed in leath….”

“What the fuck are you talking about?” I was surprised.

“I was told that you were seen at the Meeting Place leaving with a certain boy…..”
”Don’t you fuckin black mail me you fucker, you cant go around trying to speak shit about me man”, I was yelling his heart pumped rapidly.

“Calm down, I didn’t mean it like that, no ones going to…………………”

I cut him off “No ones goin to say shit or they’ll get their fuckin asses kicked, you fuckin hear me, you hear fucker?” I had worked myself into an hysterical rage.

“Dave, I’m really sorry man I didn’t mean it like that, please man I’m sorry..”

“Ah get fucked!” I slammed down the phone and thought why me, why couldn’t it be sexy young chicks propositioning me and not a seedy old AIDS infested fag. They always seemed to pick on me, god knows why.

I hated people thinking that I was gay. People always wanted to put you in a box to put a label on you. I had always felt that I had a varied sexual appetite but was not confined to one gender. It incensed me and I thought that it was an insult to be called queer, although I professed to not being homophobic I didn’t want to be gay myself. Just because I was good looking, muscular and sensitive people automatically made an assumption about my sexuality, the ubiquitous stereotype. .

At times the rage burst forth, I was unable to contain it.

One of my duties while at the exchange was distributing syringes to clients who attended the centre. Although it was an “exchange”, most people only collected new fits they didn’t actually return them although the more conscientious users did.

One day I was standing at the counter waiting for some action when a massive guy walks in the door. He was about 6’ 2” tall and 135 kgs, this guy was solid muscle, he walked stiffly and with legs bowed to accommodate his body mass.

“Hey Andrew, how the hell are ya mate. You’re looking massive dude! What’s been happening?” Andrew was a bloke that I had trained with many years ago, when we were both dedicated bodybuilders. In fact we had both competed at the state championships years earlier at Conrad Jupiters Casino and received 3rd place in each of our classes. But Andrew had gone on to bigger and better things.

“Well been training hard and just got my pro card last month. I will be heading to New York for the Night of Champions. “ Andrew seemed surprised to see me, on our last meeting things had not been so friendly. I had written an article about steroid abuse for the Gold Coast Bulletin and it attracted a lot of hostile reactions.

“Wow that’s great man, congratulations”

“Thanks”

Andrew lent on the counter and his massive striated forearms bulged from his sleeves.

“Shit your arms are massive man, that’s awesome!”

“Yeah not too bad, but still got more work to do.” Reverse anorexia, bodybuilders are never big enough. Its funny how men want to be big and women try to make themselves small.

“So what can I do for you dude”

“Well a box of a hundred 2 ml syringes, 100 21 gauge needles, and a few boxes of swabs.” Which he got for free, a pretty handy social service, looking after the physiques of our elite bodybuilders.

“No problem man, just give me a sec”

“What’s your postcode?”

“Age”

“Using them for let me guess steroids…..jus kidding man.”

Andrew curled his lip as though he was about to frown and then converted it to a casual smile.

Julie was the cleaner at the exchange, a former heroin addict now on the methadone program. She had 2 kids to her partner Lance who was a current and fully active junkie. In fact Lance was so active that he had a permanent open wound in his left arm. He called it his trap door and it was located just at the base of his left bicep. It was a round, slightly raised, bright red wound that had a thin yellow covering of pus. It looked just like a bright red and yellow trapdoor. He always injected in the same spot and the hole was continually maintained.

I only worked at the exchange for 2 days a week. On one of my days off I decided to head into the exchange to score some drugs. Now this was tolerated as long as it was done in a very subtle manner. On this occasion I caught up with Lance and together we went and scored some smack, and wondered down to the local park.

“Hey Lance how ya doin man, lets get this shit organised man, I’m tongin for a taste.”

We went back to the needle exchange and while Lance and I were sitting there on the nod, a young guy comes in wanting some fits. So I go to serve him. As I am getting his gear he leans over the counter and whispers “Want some good shit, man I got some awesome points here dude, come out to the car and have a taste”

I couldn’t believe my luck and being in the state I was could not pass up such an opportunity. Points are slang for servings of speed, a point was usually about $50. So we went out to his beat up Datsun 200B and I hopped in. He had a small clear plastic bag that he pulled out. Quickly he unwrapped the fits and sucked up some water and squirted it into the bag. The light brown speed mixed in with the water to become a cloudy soup. He stuck a cigarette filter on the end of the fit, to filter out any crap, and stuck it into the bag and sucked the brown liquid into the syringe. Time to boot up.

It was a massive rush, I began to sweat straight away, my heart was pounding and I felt fuckin great. Smack and speed what a cocktail, mmmmm.

However, my antics were not appreciated. I was fired from the exchange for coming in on my day off and making full use of the facilities. What a joke being fired from my job for drug use……..

But I must say that I was surprised when it happened, or maybe its just an example of me not realising the effect I have on people. Or maybe the drugs fucked my memory and I don’t realise what I really did, whatever, I was fired.

“So I was hoping to get my guitar back today”. I had given him my guitar as a security deposit on a drug debt I had accrued.

He glared at me “Yeh no problem have you got the money you owe me”

“Well I already gave you 200, so I only owe you 150 now, I’ll have that for you next week, but anyway in the meantime, I wanted to get the guitar back…..”

He cut me off “No fuckin way, you pay me the fuckin money you owe or you can get fucked, I’ve given you so much shit and you just keep asking for more, for fuck sake, I am sick of this fucking shit”

“Calm down you bloody goose, no need to have a fuckin spack attack…”

“I’ll give you a fuckin spack attack”, with that he pulled out his 9mm Browning and pointed it at my chest, his hand was shaking and spittle was flying into the air as he shouted at me. His bloodshot eyes glaring but I knew he would never pull the trigger. Steve Le’Range guitarist from America and Darren are both standing there mouths agape.

“Ok man chill the fuck out, keep the bloody guitar, but how about the dope man I need to get some pot?”

He lowered his gun and put in his pants, pulled a plastic clip top bag out of his pocket and said, “How much you want mate?”

Steve took me to the muso’s club. It was located in an industrial area in between Nerang and Southport. It was run by Bernie a short fat bloke with a silver beard and mullet.

It was a private club frequented by bikers and musicians. There was a bar, a stage area with a full set up of instruments. Throughout the night people would spontaneously get up to sing or play various instruments, the depth of talent was impressive. Guitarists, drummers, singers and all of them were of a professional standard.

There was a small courtyard out the back where we went to smoke bongs, with a few of the local bikies from the Uhlans. They had their colours on, black vests with the club emblem on the back. Long hair plenty of tats the usuall shit you know.





Chapter 18 - Respawn 5



“Ok Dave me old mate, what’ll it be, you know the drill”

“Respawn”

"Nighty night dont let the bed bugs bite."

Everything went dark, I was traveling down a tunnel and there was a bright light ahead of me, a buzzing white noise sound in my ears and then...................................................



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Chapter 17 - Needle Exchange in paradise


"The dose makes the poison."

Paracelsus

May 1997

I had come to the coast to get away from the heroin but I found myself working in a needle exchange. To say I found myself there is a bit of a cop out, I mean I didn’t have to take the job, I knew what it would be like, somewhere deep down inside of me I wanted to inject drugs, heroin and speed, it was like I was programmed for addiction.

The exchange was the product of the aids epidemic. It was an extension of the harm minimisation process and they were usually staffed by current and former injecting drug users. They supplied clean injecting equipment, condoms, lubricants and advice on safe sex and drug use. They knew me from the work I had done years before in Brisbane raising the profile of steroid abuse.

The GAIN crew were an interesting bunch. There was Estelle the obese administrator, Bob the gay manager, Mary the hep c girl, me anabolic steroid project officer, and Ralph (on’ the done’) the client service manager.

Upstairs were the officers and downstairs was the smoking room and stock room filled with syringes. The staff spent most of their time chatting and smoking cigarettes.

“I cant believe the rough trade that boy brings home, he’s such a slut!” Bob threw his hands in the air, and Mary shrugged her shoulders.

“Oh morning sweety, have a late night did we?” Bob, tilts his head and wags his finger at me.

“Well I did actually, didn’t fuckin sleep at all.”

“Whats up partying too much?”

“Just hangin out, you know the drill.”

“When are you going to learn boy, that shit aint no good for you.”

“Should get on to this wicked go-ee I just scored. Its from Sydney, non of this Queensland slo-ee bulshit, this stuff really fuckin rocks.” Bob was of the opinion that speed in Queensland was of a very poor quality compared to Sydney.

That afternoon Bob and I had a taste together. Once the other staff had left for the day and the place was locked.

The local residents were constantly lobbying the local government to close it down. It was located at the rear of a local shopping centre and was a beacon for junkies.

On a fairly regular basis users would OD in the local toilets, soiling their trousers in the process. Only to be discovered by irate local business owners or bemused tourists.

I hadn’t been able to get a job, and had not really tried since I finished University. But the part time position at GAIN (Gold Coast Aids and Injectors Network), was a welcome change. I got a call on my birthday, while stoned on smack with Darren and Sharon offering me the job. I was elated.

They always say that you should look for work in your area of interest. For me that area happened to be drugs. With my experience as a bodybuilder and current and former steroid user I was perfect for the role. So I was employed as the Anabolic Steroid Project Officer.

This was a part time position that was created in response to the increasing numbers of people visiting the exchange who identified steroids as the drug they were injecting. I had been and still did use anabolic steroids. In the past I had been fanatical about my training, but these days I took a more moderate approach.

I had moved to the coast to get away from heroin now I found myself surrounded by it again. I had reduced my consumption to once a week or so but every time I went to work I was confronted by drug paraphernalia and the expectant look in the eyes of those who came in to get fit packs.

It seemed to me a funny contradiction. Steroids to make me strong, potent and energised and heroin to make me mellow, calm and at peace.

When you go to a needle exchange they ask you a couple of questions. What drug you will be using, age and postcode. The people behind the counter look at you knowingly

Peter was a client at the Needle Exchange where I worked. That’s how we had met. Peter used to come in and get fit packs. The local exchange served as a kind of meeting place for junkies.

Peter used to get prescribed testosterone for a medical condition, never did tell what it was. He would sell me a couple of vials of Sustanon 250 for $30 and he was also able to score smack for me.

One day while waiting to score Peter asked me, “Why do use heroin, I mean, you are healthy, smart, fit and educated it doesn’t make sense. You know for me its obvious I mean my life is fucked, I got no prospects, but you got a lot goin for ya.”

“I don’t know, I just enjoy it I guess… and at the moment I am a bit lost….

I thought to myself for a moment, yeh I do have a lot, but I still want to use. The question made me think and it made him feel unsure. Why was I here and why did I use heroin? Its just a game I thought, life is just a game.

Peter lived above the Gold Coast Hotel at Burleigh. A run down old pub with a few rooms upstairs. It was a grimy old place right on the main drag as you go through Burleigh. He paid $100 a week for a small motel style room, with bed, TV and bathroom. Which didn’t leave him with much money to live on.

I caught the bus down from Southport and every stop seemed an eternity. The trip took about 45 minutes, stopping for the hordes of shoppers, tourists and fresh faced school kids. As the bus pulled in to Burliegh Heads, I jumped off and headed up to see my old mate, Peter.

While waiting for the dealer to show, we watched Bert Newton crap on about some new cook book. After a few minutes he came back and informed me that his dealer would be there in about half an hour, it was time to play, “the waiting game.”

Peter showed me a picture of an asian women in his wallet, it was his ex-girlfriend he told me. He hoped to get back with her, his eyes became misty and he stared into space for a moment.

The interminable waiting, it hurt, each moment I waited my stomach churned. The excitement would build from the moment I thought about scoring, the peak of this excitement was when the smack had arrived and we were mixing up. The rush was so great but so brief and then the come down, a crashing emptiness washes over you life hurts and you feel empty. I was always trying to get just that bit more of a hit, to get that feeling of peace.

Eventually the smack turned up and the procedure started. We bought a quarter between us, but Peter was senior junkie, he was still on methadone and thus had a much higher tolerance. Lucky for me or else we might both be dead.

Once the drugs arrived it was action stations, fit packs appeared, swabs, sterile water and spoons, the tools of the trade. They always show junkies using tourniquets in the movies, but I didn’t need one my veins stood out like so many rivers on my muscular arms, neither did Peter.

Once the shit was mixed it was time to fire up. I injected my hit and wow what a rush, that warm golden feeling streaming through my body. And then the next thing I knew I was looking down upon myself from up in the corner of the room.

I could see myself slumped in the chair and Peter learning towards me like he was about to kiss me. It was like I was watching myself on TV, I was interested in what was going on, but disconnected from the emotion of the event.

Floating upward, I was rising up through the ceiling and it was as though I had x-ray vision, because as I floated into the roof and outside up into the sky, I could still see myself slumped in the chair, Peter’s face pressed against mine. Drifting further I could see Burleigh far below, the beach and Gold Coast stretching out before me. Rising ever upward and further away I can no longer see myself Burleigh is like a Lego village far below, I am being drawn to the light, and I feel at peace.






Chapter 16 - Gold Coast



April 1997, Gold Coast, Australia.

I had left Brisbane to get away from the death threats and the heroin. I had originally left the Gold Coast to get away from the death threats and the steroids, but now I was back, running yet again.

I thought that living with my mum I might be able to kick the habit. She allowed me to stay there while I got my shit together. I was totally honest with her, up to a point.

I could recall the night I called her from Brisbane begging for help. She came up to collect me but I had gone out to see a mate and smoke some cones. When I got back she was waiting for me trying to break in thinking I might have overdosed inside. I could see the fear and desperation in her eyes.

She was nearly hysterical with worry, while I was stoned and rather blasé.

She would even loan me money and give me a lift to go score pot when I was hanging out.

By this time mum had retired from the “rubin n tuggin” and now worked as a taxi driver. She worked hard and was always very generous with me.

It was late at night and I was hanging out, I couldn’t sleep. I switched the TV on and began watching the late movie, it was called Runaway Diary of a Street Kid by Evelyn Lau.

It was about a young girl who ran away from home and became a drug addicted prostitute then got her changed her life and who wrote a book about her journey.

I remember thinking at the time that maybe I could write about my struggle, but it was just a fleeting idea. Ever since I was kid I had wanted to be a writer. When I was ten years old my teacher gave me a thesaurus when I left the school and and wrote “to a budding writer” and I had always wished that it might come true.

On my birthday I caught up with some old friends, Darren and Sharron. I had first met Darren years earlier when we were both bodybuilders on the roids.

Anyway last time I had seen Darren both of us had only been users of pot, but in the intervening years each one had chosen a different road – Darren and Sharron became esctacy and speed bunnies and while I got stuck on heroin.

I went to visit them at the studio that they used for their commercial art business. Darren did air brush art, graphics and ceramics focusing on marine life – dolphins, whales, sting rays. His style was realistic and he did a lot of work for Seaworld.

“Its great to see ya bro, lookin well, its been a while hey?” Darren clasped my hand firmly and they performed a smooth series of hand shakes.

“Yeah sure has lots happened for both of us by the looks of it. You’ve really got it happening with your art man it looks awesome”

“Thanks man, its been a long road but yeah its working well now. Its funny how we got hooked up with eccys and speed, and you got into tha heroin, I mean they are kind of like opposites, I mean really that’s funny hey”, Darren mused.

“Yeah, I guess it is, different drugs for different mugs, hey haha, “

“Grab a coldy mate and we’ll suck down a few hotties. Got some filth shit here man, you been smoking much?”

“Ah yeah same as usual.”

“Good shit?”

“Yeah hydro, but always nice to try something different hey”

They loved drugs and were keen to expand their horizons by trying heroin. I laughed at their naivety but what the hell. I experienced a certain evil pleasure when I introduced a new user to heroin. They started by asking questions, such as

“What’s it like? How does it feel? Have you ever OD’ed? How much does it cost?” They looked at me with rapt attention as I described the process of injecting and the effect that follows.

“Well you feel intoxicated a bit like being drunk, but much clearer, you know, its easy to talk to people, and although you feel confident, you might slur your words, and stagger when you walk. It fills you with a sense of peace, and the initial hit of the smack as it enters your brain is like a warm embrace from a lover, all your troubles dissolve and you feel completely at ease. It makes your nose itch and you go on the ‘nod’, which is like when you fall asleep for a minute you know”

After a few stories they might say, wow I’d like to try some, or where can I get some of that shit. I would then say that I could help them out and if they were still keen they might say “when”. Most people find that there first time is a nerve wracking experience. Will I spew? Am I going to die? Etc. Jeff, my mate from Uni, watched me shoot up on numerous occasions, and then one day he had his first shot and it was all down hill from there.

So we drove to Bris Vegas to score from good old Lee. I rang Lee and arranged to meet him in 45 minutes. We waited at Kangaroo Point, it was late in the afternoon and traffic was busy. Lee turned up right on time in his bright yellow Honda Civic.

I shot up in Darren’s car I couldn’t wait to get back to the Gold Coast. By the time I got to the Coast I was totally wasted, but still eager for another shot.

“Hey Sharron ya want ya shot now? That’s a yes…….OK well come over here and take a seat and I’ll give you a treat! Like that! Haha”

I mixed up the heroin and sucked it up into the syringe. This gear was clear when mixed up; it was only slightly tinged with yellow. Inverting the syringe I depressed the plunger to expel the air bubbles, it looked clear so I prepared to inject Sharon. I placed the syringe on the table and went to get a tourniquet.

I virtually never used a tourniquet; I had large visible veins in both forearms. We used an old sock as a tourniquet it was hard to see her veins, though I had a pretty deft touch and was able to score on the first hit. Unfortunately I had not checked the syringe properly and just as I was about to inject, I noticed that the syringe, was only full of air, I had picked up the wrong pick. I was already wasted and getting sloppy in my work. Luckily I didn’t inject her with air, grabbed the correct syringe and got to work.

As soon as I had injected the heroin, Sharron began to go pale and staggered to the toilet. I could hear her throwing up and she kept wretching for about an hour. Darren seemed OK, he was off his face but didn’t seem so nauseous.

Its funny but when people first use heroin they don’t know what to look for. They are not sure what it is supposed to feel like

I sat on the couch and stared at the TV while Sharron and Darren threw up. I was mildly amused by their state, they could barely walk and were sick as dogs.

Darren and I played the Nintendo with detached fascination.

The phone rang. Darren went to answer the phone while Sharron continued to puke. “Hey Dave its ya mum, she’s got some good news for ya, someone called for ya wanting some work done, something about a needle exchange”

“Darren call the doctor, I’m fucking dying here!”, Sharon shouted from the toilet.

“Hold on babe I’m comin”

“Just call the bloody doctor”

“OK babe”, Darren passed me the phone, and whispered “Hurry up dude she’s freakin out.”

I nodded.

“Hey mum…………………yeah………………………….thats great.”

Chapter 15 - QUIVAA


"Take me, I am the drug; take me, I am hallucinogenic. "
Salvador Dali

April 1996

While dealing the ganga I would usually smoke from sunrise to sunset consuming massive quantities of the shit. This was in the days when ‘skunk’ was still relatively new. After a while it really seemed to do very little, and these were the times when I craved a shot of smack. Something that would really change the colour of my day, harry!

At a time when my drug use was on the climb I saw a position advertised at QUIVAA (Queensland Intravenous Aids Association) for a heroin home detoxification worker. Now although I was smoking copious amounts of pot, injecting heroin daily and taking anabolic steroids, I thought I was perfect for the job. The position involved supporting people in their own homes who were withdrawing from heroin.

QUIVAA is an organisation that was established to address the spread of HIV among injecting drug users. The organisation is run by former and current injecting drug users, which supports the philosophy of harm minimisation. The key points of this philosophy are that you can’t stop people doing certain things but you can minimise the harm they do to themselves and others while they do it. Therefore, QUIVAA supplied clean injecting equipment, condoms, lube and advice all for free.

The interview went well and on the way home I visited Alex and scored some smack. Alex lived across the road from Churchie, a private Boys high school, at East Brisbane. In his house he had Star Wars figures and spaceships set up all over the room. Bongy had introduced me to Alex because he was taking over Bongy’s turf.

“Hey Alex, how ya doin dude?” Alex smiled at me, he was sitting at the table with a small pile of white powder making up fifty dollar deals of smack, small white triangles of paper with a pinch of white powder.

“Good man, yourself?”

“Yeah not too bad, hanging for a hit though.” I replied

“Well your in luck cause this shit is fuckin awesome. Man what the fuck are you doing to your arms man, they are fuckin massive.”

“Oh yeah still training, have been for years, off and on, a bit of gear and yeah big arms.”

“Training? Gear?”

“Oh just with weights and roids mate, used to do competitive bodybuilding. “

Jeff my mate from Uni was living out west at Quilpie, to get away from the heroin. I had given him his first shot. Every fortnight I would send him a parcel on the bus that travelled out there. The parcel usually contained about 4-5 ounces of ganga and maybe a gram of speed or two. I would wrap the pot in 5 or 6 layers of bags with coffee beans in each layer to disguise the pungent odour, and then place the whole lot in a box wrapped in paper.

One week there was a flood out west and all the roads were closed. As a result all buses were cancelled, but I had already placed my special package on the bus. I turned on the T V to watch the news anxious about the fate of my little package, “flooding throughout Queensland has caused widespread havoc, even the State government jet was called upon to ferry supplies to isolated communities, cut off by the flood.” The showed vision of a bus loading its freight and mail onto the plane and I watched as one crewmen gingerly picked up my package and placed in the cargo hold.

The Queensland Government came to the rescue, they helped me to get the good buds to where they were desperately needed, nice to see the government get something right for once.

It was Thursday I had three ounces of prime skunk, but business was slow so I decided to take a trip into the valley to see if I could drum up some business. Taking a handful of pot from one of my bags I made up a couple of fiftys and a couple of twenty-five dollar bags.

Before I left I had a shot of smack, it made it easier for me to approach strangers, getting rid of inhibitions like alcohol, but with clarity.

I caught the train in and headed for the Valley Mall. I sat down on the ground with a paper and surveyed the scene. People were always looking to score and if you watched them carefully you could pick your marks.

I noticed a young block wearing a black t-shirt, checkered flannel, black jeans and boots, he has a goatie and shaved head. To me a prime candidate for a dope smoker, so I approach him, "He mate, how ya goin, you lookin to score any ganga at the moment?".

He pauses for a moment before responding, "Well matter of fact I was lookin to score what you got man?"

"Prime skunk weed my friend $25 or $50 bags...."

"I'll grab a fifty."

"Cool just follow me into the toilets and we'll do the deal."

Once in the men's toilets we did the exchange, I got the cash and he got his weed. This bloke ended up becoming a regular customer I would deliver to him and his girlfriend at West End every week.

Chapter 14 - The Odyssey


"It is true, it is certain; man though dead retains Part of himself: the immortal mind remains."



April 1994

I regained consciousness and was hanging upside down, still strapped into the driver’s seat. The car had rolled off the road and crashed down into a small gully. Amazingly I was uninjured though the car was trashed. I was dazed, yet only one thing was on my mind. One more shot. I remembered that I had a shot already made up. There was a pick in the glove compartment that was ready to go. I undid the seat belt and let myself fall from the drivers seat onto the roof. I grabbed the smack, gathered a few possessions from my wrecked car, and scampered up the side of the embankment.

Lying in the scrub at the side of the road I injected that last shot. By now I was so smashed I barely noticed the impact of yet more heroin.

My next thought was of survival. “How the fuck do I get home”. I was on a dirt track, out behind Nimbin, it was getting dark and it had just started to rain and I had only 20 bucks on me.

Although my predicament was a concern, I wasn’t worried. When someone has had as much smack as I had that day, you become virtually oblivious to external events.

As I pondered my situation I began walking, or should I say stumbling up the road, hoping to hitch a ride. The gentle rain was falling steadily it was quite a beautiful scene, the tree lined country road at dusk. As luck would have it, I had only walked about 100 metres before a little Suzuki four wheel drive pulled over to give me a lift.

“You’re a bloody lifesaver mate”, I slurred, “I just trashed my car, its down there in the gully.”

“No shit, you alright?”, he looked shocked

“Yeah, I’m fine, but the car is fucked!

“You’re bloody lucky! I can give you a lift into town, where do you live”

“From Brissie mate, just down for the day”

“Oh shit, hey, well you’ll be able to get another lift from there to Lismore, you should be able to get a bus, back to Brisbane.”

The bloke took me to the next town, and we parted company.

By this time the rain was falling steadily and rather than get wet I decided to visit the pub. It was a typical country affair with a few locals at the bar chatting and drinking, it was dry and a welcome respite from the rain. I was stoned out of my brain, and still shell-shocked from the car accident that I had somehow miraculously survived. Time for a drink to celebrate my good luck.

In the Odyssey , Odysseus (Ulysses) tied to the ships mast to stop him being tempted by the sirens, while the ships crew have their ears filled with wax to prevent them from hearing their melodious songs. As they pass by the island of the sirens Odysseus hears their rapturous songs and, begs to be set free so that he may join them, however, his men blissfully unaware of the enchanting songs keep watch over Odysseus and tighten the ropes that secure him to the mast. Cream had a great song called the, Tales of Brave Ulysses that recounted the struggle his men faced when confronted by the beguiling charms of the siren.

Heroin calls the junkie like the sirens and to loosen its savage grip one needs deep resolve, all rational action and thought are obscured by the overwhelming desire.







Chapter 13 - Respawn 4


"Nothing endures but change"
Heraclitus

"Neil, why don't you talk him through this bit, you know the drill?" Ignatius, scratched his crotch and adjusted his package.

"Yeah I will be fine, Ok lets go Dave what do you want to do, we can restart you, or you can respawn?”, Neil was concentrating on the monitor in front of him watching my levels.

“Ah just respawn man, I am doing OK don’t want to restart”

"Ok we will do a brief memory induction that will erase your death and provide a smooth transition, sleep well Dave.......". Neil pressed initiated the final sequence and off I went to join the fairies.




Chapter 12 Nimbin

"I watched the needle take another man."
Neil Young
(The Needle and the Damage Done)

April 1994

After the break up with Michelle, I had found another reason to use heroin. No longer was it simple experimentation rather it was the powerful mind numbing effect that I craved. When Michelle left me it felt like I had lost part of myself, and the only way I felt that I could deal with this was to use heroin. But this was just bullshit because I needed an excuse, some sort of justification for my fucked up actions and this seemed like a pretty good excuse.

We kept seeing each other briefly every few weeks or months opening the festering wound that was our relationship. One day I bumped into Michelle in the city and we spent the afternoon together, and had sex in the bush at Mt Cootha. I had a great time kissing, fondling, and fucking her under the stars I didn’t want it to end. As we parted she told me, that we could never see each other again, the words, shattered my mood and set off a cycle of fear, anxiety and pain. I relived all the horror of the original break up again it was like listening to a CD of Lennard Cohen and Nick Cave duets on stuck on endless repeat, ohh the humanity.

Every time I saw her I had this faint hope that we might get back together. And every time that it didn’t happen I felt heart broken again. When ever I got depressed about this situation I would seek the warm embrace of heroin. Today Nimbin was on the agenda. I think I wanted something to feel bad about just that I would have a reason to use.

It had been a week since I had ODed and went to the hospital.

As I pulled into the sleepy little town, I saw the copper’s four-wheel drive coming towards me. It was just my luck, I was driving an unregistered vehicle and there were warrants out for my arrest. They were only for unpaid traffic fines but still I didn’t want to have to spend a week in gaol and miss out on my taste.

I pulled over onto the soft edge of the road. As I did so I watched as the copper’s car slowed, did a u-turn and came back my way. While this was happening I stashed my wallet down the front of my pants.

The Nissan four- wheel drive came to a halt. It was a cool morning and we stood in the shade of some trees.

“Good morning sir, I notice that you don’t have a current rego sticker, “the young copper said.

“Its not my car mate, it belongs to a mate of mine Dave, I just borrowed it for the day, didn’t realise it wasn’t registered.”

“Ah ha, you say it’s not your car, ok, so what’s your name?”

I tried to think of a fake name, “ah …. John Connors.” I had been watching Terminator 2 last night.

“Your address John?”

22 Bunyip Lane Wilston Brisbane”

“and the full name of the owner of the car”

“Dave Hawkins “

“Can I see your license John? “

“Nah I left my wallet at home”

“I‘ll have to search you sir”

The copper patted me lightly on the body, avoiding my groin where my wallet was stashed. He found nothing.

“Can you please open the car; I’ll need to search it”

The cop rummaged through the car, opened the ash tray and pulled out a small bag of pot. “This yours” . I nodded

The copper tipped the bag upside down and emptied the contents onto the ground. He did this without hesitating or acting as if this was unusual. In a town like Nimbin pot was everywhere, and mostly the cops turned a blind eye. They didn’t worry about small amounts, it was the smack dealers and blokes who sold the pounds of pot they chased.

“Stay away from this shit mate. OK, now I’ll have to radio in to check your details.”

The copper went back to his car and turned on the CB radio.

While I did this I felt the tension building inside of me. If they figured out I was bullshitting I was busted and that meant I would miss out on my hit today.

“Base, this is unit 34, need to confirm some license details and rego details. Can you check on a Queensland license for John Connors of 22 Bunyip Lane Wilston and the rego details on a green Mazda 323 license 345 EWB.”

He waited for a minute, “Roger Base out”

“John, couldn’t find your details but confirmed the car is registered to a Dave Hawkins, how long have you had your license?”

“I just got it”

“That must be the reason why you’re not on the system. Oh, anyway I ‘m going to have to fine you for driving an unregistered vehicle. “ The copper was rather blasé and didn’t seem to care. He proceeded to fill out the infringement notice and handed it to me.

“You will have to leave the car here mate.”

“Ok.” I replied, and thought to myself, yeah like hell mate.

We parted company.

As the cop drove off I counted my blessings. That was close, now I was really hanging for a hit.

I walked up the street to the park across the road from the pub where I would usually find someone to score from. As I approached I could see Jamie sitting under a tree. Jamie was about 35, but looked 55. He had long hair, a sparse beard and the rotten teeth common to junkies. He wore old stubbies a t shirt and thongs. He lived in a tent at the edge of town.

I had scored from him before. Jamie was on the methadone program.

“Hey Jamie, how you doin dude”

“OK man, watch yah up to”

“Lookin to score”

“Ganja”

“No harry man”

“Oh ok, bit the old horse, hey. Jus hang here for a sec while I see wot I can do”

I planted my arse on the grass and sat back to survey the scene. It was a sight. The park was dotted with a variety of social misfits and oddities. In the centre of the park stood an array of modern sculptures, some still under construction. Small groups of people sat drinking casks of wine or stubbies and smoking cigarettes. A few mangy kids chased each other round the park while their parents chatted.

Young locals waited for tourists to wander into town chasing what Nimbin was famous for, drugs, specifically pot. After checking you out to see if you looked like a prospective customer, they would casually ask you if you wanted some good buds.

Jamie sauntered back into view, he walked listing to one side, like a battleship that had taken a few too many hits, but in his case it was a few too many hits of heroin. “Yeah, man I can score you some shit, how about giving me a few bucks for lookin afta ya. “

“Yeah no worries man, here take 10 bucks”

“Hey ya don’t have any durries on ya, do ya?”

“Yeah, grab a couple”, I said as I offered the packet to Jamie.

“Now, how much do ya want, quarts are $140 or I can get ya a fitty?”

“Make it a quart hey” I handed him the cash.

“Give me five minutes”, Jamie said as he wandered up the street.

I saw him walk to the other end of the main street and sit down next to a woman. They chatted for a moment, Jamie passed her the money and she gave him the shit.

By this time my heart was pumping as the excitement was building.

“Here ya go,” Jamie handed him a small piece of paper wrapped into a triangle shape.

“Cheers man”

I now tried to contain myself, as I skipped down the road to my car. I had to drive; there was no public transport in Nimbin.

I just hoped that I would get out of town before the cop noticed me. But as my luck would have it, the cop was driving past in the opposite direction as I was driving out of town.

The cop saw me, flashed his lights and slowly turned to pursue. There was a distinct lack of urgency in the policeman’s actions.

“Oh fuck,” I shouted out loud. Then thought, this bastard is not going to stop me from having my shot, and with that I planted my foot to the floor. The little Mazda lurched into action.

I had a head start on the cop, and luckily for me, the cop was driving one of the four wheel drives which were not as fast as the normal cop sedans, besides the fact that the cop obviously didn’t give a shit.

About 2 kms out of town I took a side road, and hoped that I had lost my pursuer. Not willing to wait and see I took another side road that went off the bitumen and onto a dirt track. After driving for a few minutes the road came to an end.

My heart still racing I turned the car around and left the engine running. Fumbling through my bag to find my fit pack, I grabbed the orange container tipped out the contents and began to hurriedly mix up for a shot.

Nervous hands scraped some of the precious white powder into the spoon. I mixed in the water, sucked it into the syringe and drove it into my arm.

The warm glow, settled my nerves, but I was still freaked out.

I drove back out along the dirt road all the while worried that the copper would appear at the next bend and have me cornered.

But as I drove on it seemed that I had escaped. I continued on my way home sticking to the back roads. To celebrate my escape I decided to have another blast so I pulled the car over to the side of the road, mixed up another shot and proceeded to inject it. Waiting for a moment I felt the rush and then decided that for safety sake I had better keep moving lest the cop catch up with me.

Off I drove. As the car travelled down the road I felt my head become light, and my stomach getting ready to puke. A light touch on the break, I opened the door and spewed while the car slowly rolled forward. Pressing the accelerator I continued with my journey approaching a corner in the road, and just as the car came to the bend, darkness enveloped me and I blacked out.

A bright all encompassing light draws me forward…………………………..






 
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