Sunday, 1 July 2007

Chapter 21- Nimbin Take Two

" You are alone now. Last man. You are lone ranger."

Feb 1999

Dad was often overseas working and travelling so to get some privacy and a break from mum I stayed at his Main Beach unit. He was still working in Saudi Arabia he had been there now for nearly 20 years. He was in Dhahran at the moment working as a Flight Surgeon and so I had the use of his apartment at Main Beach and the Commodore.

The phone rang and I was woken from his slumber it was 2am.

“Hey Dave, got some bad news for you man, the cops called here looking for you yesterday. They want to question you over some stolen computers. I told them you were on a fishing trawler up north. “ Jeff spoke with a rapid pace and I could hear him smacking his lips as he uttered each syllable. I hated that sound it made me angry. When ever Jeff took speed he always made the most annoying lip smacking sounds. My Dad used to make the same sound when he had a lolly or was eating, I would have to leave the room until he finished.

Jeff was a friend from University, a fellow psych student who I had shared a house with and introduced to smack.

“Oh fuck that’s great, just what I need, “ I realised that Jeff was trying to help me by ringing and warning me, but I wished that he could have waited until the morning. I lay awake for the rest of the night agonising over the call.

The cops were on my trail. They knew I had been involved in stealing the computers it was only a matter of time before I was caught. Then there would be gaol, pain, humiliation and withdrawal from heroin. The thought terrified me and I had trouble getting back to sleep.

After last nights message I woke up feeling like a hit. No cash though, so I visited the pawn shop, and hocked my guitar. I had hocked it so many times, and I had lost so many other things, but somehow, I always managed to save the guitar at the last moment, I kind of thought of it as my Yamaha Express Card, always there when you need a hit.

Lee wasn’t answering his phone so I decided to take a little trip to my favourite tiny little town in the hills, Nimbin. The idyllic setting with lush green trees and rolling hills were a perfect location for a nice little fairy tale. But on this day like many others I was drawn by the easy availability of heroin, rather than the scenery.

The environment is very beautiful and it does make a great setting for getting wasted. I would often drive out of Nimbin and shoot up in the local cemetery. The cemetery overlooked the main road and was only a fairly small plot. I would park the car under a tree and have a blast. I loved the excitement and the risk of being a junkie. Going to Nimbin for a junkie, was like going to Mecca for a Muslim, the Rainbow Café was like the Kabbah, a central hub around which the drug dealing action revolved. You could pick the pilgrims by their demeanour, reverent, observing all the action with bemused yet fascinated expressions.

If you wanted to score smack in Nimbin it was important that you arrived before about 11.30 -12.00 in the morning. Pot was available pretty much all day but heroin was a bit harder to come by. Most junkies really hang out in the morning so everyone rocks up to score from about 9.30 – midday. If you go any later most of the dealers will have left town and it’s hard to get on.

I had been thinking about Kurt Cobain and how he was a junkie and he killed himself. Part of me wanted to die that day too. But it was self-indulgent, self pitying bullshit, wrapped up in romantic crap about suicide, why did I do this to myself, was it just boredom or stupidity. I mean it makes me sick to think what a fucking pathetic fool I was. I put Nevermind on the stereo and enjoyed the cool ambience as the excitement was building and Nimbin was getting closer.

Driving into Nimbin I pulled up in the main street near the school. Down the street I saw a few familiar faces and one in particular caught my attention. It was Tonto, a bloke I knew from many years before. My mind drifted back 10 years, to a cloudy afternoon in Lismore.

“Hey where the fuck, are we going ta score in Lismore?” I asked Sebastian.

“Just do a blocky and we’ll see who we come across”, Sebastian scanned the streets.

“Hey look, see that dude with long hair dressed in black, I’m sure I’ve seen him in Nimbin, he looks like a smoker, we should ask him.”

“Pull the car over and you go an ask him.”

“Lets both do it”

“Ah alright”, I parked the car on the side of the road and we both walked over to the bloke.

“Hey man, how are ya doin, we are lookin to score and were wondering if you could help us out?”

“Yeah I can score for ya just drive me ta me mates place, me names Tonto “He slurred and without an invitation staggered into the back seat of the Datsun 1600.

I wondered if that was his real name. He did look a bit like an American Indian, albeit a skinny drug fucked one, and for a moment I had a vision of the Loan Ranger and Tonto shooting up smack together. He had long dark hair and large wild eyes with chipped and missing front tooth, dressed in black jeans and t-shirt and boots, his body emitted a foul odour of alcohol, cigarettes and sweat.

“How far is your mates place?”

“Ah its not far, mate, you’ll be right, I’ll get some real fuckin good shit man, trust me.” As he spoke a fine spray came from his mouth and a trickle of drool dripped down his chin. He wiped it away with his hand and took another swig of bourbon.

Tonto was holding onto a bottle of Jim Beam and took regular swigs as the journey progressed, guiding us out of Lismore on the road to Nimbin.

It took about 40 minutes to get to Tonto’s mates place along winding country roads. At last we pulled into a dirt track and Tonto directed us to a small shack. We were now just a few kilometres from Nimbin, a bit further than we had planned to go.

“Jus a sec”, Tonto got out of the car and went inside the shack. He came out with a skinny pallid woman and small child in his arms.

“This is me wife and kid, me mates not here, and I need to get ta his place so I can score for ya” His wife looked at the ground while the little boy squirmed in his fathers arms.

“Ok lets go”

“Nah you have ta stay here, look just lend me ya car, and I’ll go score for ya,

“That wasn’t the deal, dude”

“I’ll be back me wife and kid are here for fuck sake”, he gestured to his wife and child now huddled on the ground.

“Man I’m not lending you my car, “

“I ‘m leaving me wife and baby with ya fa fuck sake, I mean jeez, what more can I do for ya? Do you wanta fuckin score or not?” Tonto threw his hands in the air.

“Well I can just drive you myself”

“Nah, no, fuckin way, that wont work, the dude I score off don’t like strangers it’ll freak him out, he lives way out on one of tha back roads”

“Man I am not going to give you my car, that’s bloody crazy. I can drive you or we can forget about it.”

“Ah fuck ya then, go on get fucked you stupid little cunt. You fuckin are really missin out man, you’ll be back”

At the time I had felt a mixture of revulsion and fascination with Tonto.

I came back to the present, and I realised that Tonto was right I did come back. I had a Celestine moment, it was one of those coincidences James Redfield spoke of in his book. Tonto and I were connected in some way through the expanse of space time.

Tonto had not changed at all he looked exactly the same as he had ten years ago, long straggly black hair, filthy black jeans, grungy sneakers, and vacant smacked out stare in his eyes. I thought it was funny how I had become, a scamming junkie like Tonto.

I was in my Dad’s commodore and had just scored the usual process. I decided I would drive out of town to boot up. So I took a turn off the main road and drove down a twisting dirt track. I pulled the car over to the side of the road. With the engine still running I mixed up and injected my fix, I waited a moment to feel it come on and then I started driving down the dirt road. As I was driving I nodded off.

Then what do you know the bloody light again, being drawn upward, a feeling of peace is giving way to boredom, I mean the first time it was pretty cool now it’s just mundane.

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