Sunday, 24 June 2007

Chapter 4 - New Romancer

"If opium-eating be a sensual pleasure, and if I am bound to confess that I have indulged in it to an excess, not yet recorded of any other man, it is no less true, that I have struggled against this fascinating enthralment with a religious zeal, and have, at length, accomplished what I never yet heard attributed to any other man - have untwisted, almost to its final links the accursed chain which fettered me." (from Confessions of an English Opium Eater)

Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859)

April 1993

It just so happened that my cousin Sophie was moving into a new house and she had a couple of spare rooms so I moved in. Sophie’s mum was my mum’s sister, they had worked together doing massage on the Gold Coast.

Selling pot was easy. I liked doing it because it meant that I always had dope, regular visitors and handy cash. Furthermore, I loved networking. So with a great product and my great networks I was destined for success. Usually I would sell about 4 ounces a week and make about $100 on each ounce, although much of my profit went up in smoke.

I handed my dole form in every fortnight and enjoyed my freedom.

If things were slow I would ring up likely customers and canvas them for sales. These likely customers were people in my group of friends/acquaintances who liked to smoke cones regularly.

The visitors were nice as they broke up the day and I would usually have a session with each one. As a result I barely noticed the impact of pot. It also made me feel special, because I knew that people were relying on me to get their fix. Mostly I just sold pot. But as things progressed I diversified into speed, trips and ecstasy.

Michelle moved into the share-house a couple weeks after I did. It was a four bedroom Queenslander on Stanley St at East Brisbane. Timber floors, high ceilings, with a built in veranda.

She was only there for a few days before we got it on inspired by a batch of awesome ecstasy. Picking up women was not my forte I was usually shy with girls, at first, but ecstasy certainly cured that problem. It had been nearly a year since Rita and I had broken up, and I had not had sex since that day. Plenty of handy work on my part though, made sure the plumbing was kept in good working order. Mostly girl focused though the occasional fag fantasy too.

We had both worked for Greenpeace as community activists, which meant that we collected money for the organisation. Although Michelle had left before I started so I never met her until she moved in.

Prior to meeting Michelle I had been lusting after Laura a girl who I had worked with at Greenpeace. I was too shy to really make it happen, anyway Michelle’s ex-boyfriend broke up with her to be with Laura, the girl I had been lusting after. It was a strange co-incidence.

She was cute, her hair was a faded collage of colours; she had beautiful lips, a cheeky smile and pert shapely breasts. She reminded me of Juliette Lewis she had that same casual sexuality, and husky resonating voice. We played cricket in the back yard, just the two of us. Our interactions were self-conscious and awkward until the subject of drugs came up.

“Hey Dave can you get any eccys?” Michelle asked.

“Well as a matter of fact I can? You want a couple?”

“Well just half would be cool”, she grinned expectantly.

“Don’t sell halves but I’ll give you a whole one on tick , you can fix me up later, ok?”

“Yeah that’s fine with me, thanks a lot.”

“You going out tonight”

“No I just never tried E and Sophie told me you were selling them, so I thought I would broaden my horizons.”

“Well this will do that alright, I’m going to have one tonight, why don’t you join me”

“Are you going out?”

“Nah was jus going to stay home and enjoy the ride. Might go down to the bottle shop though and get some beers, you want a couple?”

The E’s came on and I felt the rush of euphoria. There was a knock at the door and I went to answer it.

“Hey Raif, how the heck are you man, you are lookin great dude, jeez man its great to see ya, we are havin an awesome time here tonight dude, I mean absolutely fuckin awesome dude, hey come on in man and join us. “

Bouncing forward I gave Raif a hug.

Raif hesitated, “Yeah, ah good to see you too dude”

“Come on in man; join the party, whoooo hooooooo!” I punctuated my words by jumping into the air.

Michelle, Sophie and Brian where sitting in the living room having a few beers.

“Stone me into the Groove”, by Atomic Swing was playing on the radio, and it sounded like the greatest song in the world, not to be confused with the song by Tenacious D of the same name. I continued to bounce around to the music for a while, enjoying the sudden burst of energy that the E gave me.

The E was really powering on and I loved it. Looking over toward Michelle, I could see her talking to Raif with a fiendish look in her eye. I felt euphoric and suddenly very attracted to Michelle, I caught her attention and called her into my room.

Sitting on the floor I waited till she came in and then closed the door. As she sat down our mouths met and the gentle touch of her lips was a delight. We were soon engaged in the most amorous of embraces.

We fucked for hours the E gave me incredible stamina and every soft caress was like heaven. Michelle’s lips were red from the constant kissing. We were trying to devour each other in a fit of sexual ecstasy. But the more I wanted her the more it hurt.

When I had sex first time with Rita I felt incredibly nervous. I was able to stay hard but I couldn’t ejaculate, and this had happened with other girls since Rita. But the ecstasy seemed to exacerbate the problem.

I pumped Michelle’s nubile body for hours in a desperate attempt to release the tension that was building inside of me. But the harder I thrust my penis the more it hurt. My balls had swollen up and the semen would not come through. By the morning the pain was intense, I yearned to come and Michelle wished I would stop. The only way I could reduce the pain was to have a wank. So I slipped off to the toilet and after a few brief tugs a torrent of come came spurting forth, easing the pain in my groin.

But I felt embarrassed that I had not been able to finish the job.

Later that night at the dinner table……….

“Michelle, what was that you were saying about Dave, not satisfying you….”

“Yeah Dave you need to please a women, you’ve got go down on her man”

I blushed and felt exposed and a bit angry that Michelle had told the others.

This went on for days and eventually one afternoon it happened. We had just had some pot and were kissing on the bed. Our love making efforts continued to progress while in the background, I could hear the Violent Femmes singing, “Why cant I get just one fuck” and as the refrain from the chorus echoed through the old Queenslander, I felt the come explode from my penis. The feeling was absolute delight.

After our initial love making we talked about our lives. We barely knew each other but Michelle got the ball rolling.

Sitting on the floor her legs pulled up to her chest Michelle spoke softly, “I was raped by my grandfather. He used to pay me 50 cents for each time he did it to me. I remember him getting me to lie down on a log in the back yard and him licking my pussy. Mum and dad found out but they were too ashamed to do anything, they blamed me, they just wanted to forget about it and pretend it didn’t happen “

“Shit baby, that’s fuckin awful,” I lent forward and embraced her tenderly stroking her hair and gently kissing her on the cheek. We stayed like that for a few minutes as I rocked her back and forth.

I remember thinking this had happened to me too. The more she talked about it the more I connected with her pain, torment and guilt. It was the first time in my life that I had ever questioned the events of my childhood. I had no clear memory of abuse just a feeling that something deep inside me lay hidden. What it was I didn’t know. Were these repressed memories or fantasised memories, memories created to attribute blame, to distort and disturb, what were they?.

What ever the case hearing about Michelle’s pain triggered a re-action within me, that was powerful and disturbing.

Her past caused her tremendous pain and despair. She tried many things to help her deal with the pain. But now it seemed to me that she clung to it.

It was one of the first things she told me about herself when we met, which I thought was odd. I then noticed she repeated this pattern with virtually every body I introduced her to. It made me wince to hear the details of it and watch as she literally relived the experience in front of my eyes. But it was her way and no one could tell her differently.

It was her identity tragic. She had a book “Go Ask Alice” about the descent of a teenager into drug addiction, prostitution and finally death. She told me that she wanted to follow this path. Michelle could relate to Alice and it seems felt that her path would inevitably resemble Alice's. Yet it seemed absurd to me, what a fucked up thing to aspire to.

(The Little soul in the sun – see prologue) – she fulfilled her part of the deal, a deal made in heaven.

“Look I am not fucking interested in being a fuckin junkie, that shit sucks Michelle!”

“Come on, you’ve tried everything else lets just experiment, it’ll be fun, the ultimate buzz. You know like taking the next step you said yourself that you wanted to try everything”, she grabbed my hand and caressed it.

“Ah, fuck it, why can’t you just let it be, I told you I don’t want to fuckin do it!”, I yanked my hand away from hers.

Just then Brian came in, “You know junkies are really boring people, I think its pretty sad that you wanna get mixed up in that shit”
”Yeah look that’s fine Brian, but this is nothing to do with you man.”

“If you are going to be doing it here it is.”

“Yeah, well I pay fuckin rent as well, and its none of your business mate!”

“Yeah well we’ll see how you guys go, don’t say I didn’t warn ya.”

“Yeah yeah, piss off”

“Now Michelle you were saying?”

“Our national drug is alcohol. We tend to regard the use any other drug with special horror.”
William S. Burroughs

“Please baby, you now Mitchell can get it, you told me yourself, so you must be curious, come on baby, just you and me it’ll be cool”

“I’m gunna have a few cones, just let me be, I’ll think about it”

Michelle followed me out into the living room and sat next to me at the table. As I mulled up the pot she started rubbing my dick with her hand, and my pants started to rise. I continued chopping up the stinky buds.

We listened to the morning show on Tripple J every day while smoking cones and drinking tea. Dr Karl was chatting away about chaos theory, fractals and butterflies flapping their wings, creating tidal waves, and alternate realities . A few people came over to score, I rang to organise some more and we just hung out.

After sucking down a few cones, I lent back in the chair, sighed and said, “Ya know your right lets just try it, shit I mean there can’t be any harm in that, hey”

“Cool baby, I’m so excited, lets do it tonight, can you give Mitch a call?”

“Yeah I’ll ring him in a minute, don’t get your hopes up though, he may not be able to get on”

But he did get on and so it was that we had our first experience with heroin.

I can remember being very nervous worrying that I might OD or spew. We got Mitch to come home with us and give us the injections, I was not able to do it at that stage. But it was something of an anit-climax, that first taste I didn’t know what to expect what to look for. It was like being really stoned, but it wasn’t the intense feeling I had expected. We only had a very small dose that might have had something to do with it.

Michelle loved Nick Cave and Jim Morrison. She had a book of Morrison poetry, and regularly played the American Prayer album, which consisted of poetry being read by Jim Morrison, that the Doors then added an instrumental track to following his death. It had a sombre mystical mood. She also used to write and she shared with me some of her many poems with me.

Michelle put on a tape of The Velvet underground performing “Heroin”. We both laid back and soaked up the experience.

A hundred years ago Heinrich Dreser became a wealthy man from the discovery of heroin and aspirin but ended up an addict. In 1898 Dreser isolated heroin while working for Bayer. Diacetylmorphine or heroin, was a crystalline powder derived from morphine, which was invented in 1874 by an English chemist, C R Wright, however, Dreser was the first to see its commercial potential.

Dreser tested diacetylmorphine on workers at Bayer who loved it, some saying it made them feel "heroic" (heroisch). This was also the term used by chemists to describe any strong drug (and diacetylmorphine is four times stronger than morphine). The brand name heroin was then applied to this new product and it was widely used as a cough medicine.

“ancient theme beginning with the simple consumption or smoking of the alkaloid-bearing parts of Papaver somniferum, the opium poppy, first cultivated circa 3400 BC in lower Mesopotamia. Ancient Sumerians, Assyrians, Babylonians, and Egyptians found that smoking the extract derived from the seedpods yielded a pleasurable, peaceful feeling throughout the body. The Sumerians called the poppy plant "Hul Gil" or "joy plant". Cultivation and use spread quickly to the rest of the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula, eventually reaching India and China.”

“The War on Drugs has taught me that I belong to the last tribe of niggers on the planet: drug users--an entire strata of society that it is all right to demonize, hate, harass, and incarcerate for the crime of altering my state of consciousness against the government's wishes. “ “There's nothing more damaging to the entire fabric of society than a bunch of people who just smoked pot, descending on a donut shop all at once; or a heroin addict nodding out on a couch.”

"Elvis was hooked on Dilaudid, Goering was a morphine addict"


Mum came over one day for Sophie’s 21st birthday party. I greeted her at the door with a warm embrace, as we parted she learnt forward as if to kiss me on the cheek, but instead stuck her tongue in my ear. It was somewhat disconcerting but mum was always a little different, I think she might have been pissed.

Michelle dressed in long tied dyed dresses. She was always very affectionate and ready to embrace me. She was very intelligent, and spoke in a clear educated manner. Her previous boyfriend owned a combie and she would always tell me all the various details regarding variations in the models and windscreens etc. “Oh look that’s a split screen one, they were the earlier models, Michael had one just like that.” She was born in October and thus a Libran she reminded me of my mother. More oedipal connections.

Becoming a junkie requires hard work and dedication. First the apprentice needs to find a supplier, to learn to mix and shoot, and finally to build up tolerance. At first people can barely stand up with out puking and then as they get used to it they just let the puke come. When addicts are learning to find a vein and inject they invariably leave a swollen red trail of mistakes in the quest to get high. Its not as easy as it looks to get the needle into the vein. Often the needle will go straight through, just nick the side of the vein or slip around it all together. When this happens, the needle must be withdrawn and re-inserted.

The aspiring addict must then continue regular use over period of weeks until daily. Then continue to build up to multiple times daily. Each time an addict uses there are so many risks, getting busted, ripped off, OD or just getting the cash to score ( robbery, fraud, break and enter).

“You will need to find something to feel bad about……..” the little soul

All junkies need an excuse a reason to use and I had found mine, I found my pain and with Michelle we took the first tentative steps toward addiction. I also hated myself, I hated my confused sexuality, and my ambiguous gender. We found our excuses, focused on our problems, felt sorry for ourselves and created our own private hells. She focused on the pain of being sexually abused and the way her family had done nothing despite knowing it was going on .

Another book she enjoyed was called The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall, apparelntly her mother had given it her. I found this both somewhat titillating but also a but unusuall, the theme of the book being the suffering a young lesbian goes through as she struggles to find love.

I had a memory of mowing the lawn at our house and thinking about the vexing issue of my emerging sexual orientation. I must say that it filled me with dread to think that I might be anything other than normal, because I had done very well when it came to accepting homophobia and the disgusting and repellent nature of such acts. For one so conditioned the only solution was suicide or perhaps a nice cup of tea or a shot of smack.

It’s not what happens to us that is important but what you do with what happens that matters. At the time I decided to feel like shit and be a victim, a perfect prelude to heroin addiction.

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