Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Wilderness Years - Hazardous Chemicals Pt. 4

Those moments of clarity, beautiful things they are, of course the problem is they are only moments but in that moment if the seed can be sown maybe, just maybe, one can use the old noggin' and not end up a corpse, it's a crap shoot to say the least but on that day i had learned my lesson, so help me Jah, i was done with that shit... at least for that day... and so i got on with the "normal" regimen of drug and alcohol abuse, nothing out of the ordinary, i stayed away from the gear but i still had a couple of little rocks sitting in a drawer, sometimes it seemed they called my name but then that little seed had begun to sprout and i'd stop, leave it alone i'd think, of course all it took was a split second and i'd be pissing on that sprout and putting pipe to lips and feeling like Jesus' son for a few seconds every exhale, oh that fucking gorgeous rush, that avalanche of pure bliss...

And so one afternoon i got off work and trudged up the steps and back towards my room, it was a typical gray North Oakland afternoon, i pulled out the bag and took a hit, to both my relief and anger the hit was weak, i took another and then another but soon it was gone, the last batch i had made and it was a dud, i got a little high but not like i was craving, of course soon after i was getting paranoid that i might keel the fuck over, spent the rest of the afternoon checking my pulse until finally deciding to go full booze hound and hit the bar for some Scotch and beer, a few slices of pizza as nourishment, back home and in bed before midnight no worse for wear... a typical day for this lad...

The next morning i shook the cobwebs out of the head, dressed and walked to the two blocks to work, stopping first at the mini-mart for my usual cup of coffee, bottle of orange juice, and a doughnut, the typical breakfast of the young lumpen-prole warehouse grunt, nothing seemed amiss, all systems go, surprisingly i wasn't even hungover. I had put in a good shift at the bar but in a fleeting moment of responsibility i waved off the last round and headed home to get some sleep... the previous day's gray had soaked through to this one and there was a morning delivery out to the North Hills, an easy and time consuming run, a good way to burn through over half the morning and so i was quite glad when the coin flip to see who would make the run went my way...

The delivery was a walk in the park and i spent some time flirting with a mousy haired, flat-chested hippie chick who worked there, by the time i got back to the warehouse it'd be an hour until lunch and then it was all downhill to the party... so in the van i hopped and off i drove, it was somewhere near the old Civic Arena when it started, this pressure rising in my chest, let's just say the paranoia started then too, at first it wasn't so bad but as i kept driving, ironically on that busy road that ran right past Hippie Jack's, it felt like i couldn't breath, i checked my pulse and it was racing for a guy who was sitting in a van, the mind didn't help either, suddenly i began to think that i may have dodged the bullet at Jack's but somehow, somewhere someone got off another round and this time i was fucked, i took quick breathes and cracked the window to let in some cold air, i began to think about dying alone in a work van at 26, just my fuckin' luck, i hadn't even began the masterpiece yet...

I made it back to the warehouse and found my manager, he took one look at me and asked if i was okay, no i said, i think somethings wrong, i told him i couldn't catch my breath and how all this pressure was in my chest, i told him i thought i should go to the hospital, he asked if i wanted a ride, i said i think i should walk... now here i was thinking my fucking heart was gonna explode yet thinking it was a good idea to walk to the fucking emergency room, how could the world not recognize my genius? so I  began putting one foot in front the other and attempting deep breathes and off i trudged to the ER that was right up the street all the while my heart racing and pressure building in my chest and the sunless sky and cold wind and i'm sweating and wondering if this might be my last day on Earth and the last thing i ate was a sugar doughnut...

There is this wonderful gauge to tell just how much of a train wreck one is, the clue can be found in the faces of various medical staff taking care of you, the smiles and smirks and jokes, you see once inside the ER i was shown to a room pretty quick like because of my state, they shaved a few patches of hair off my chest and hooked me up to and EKG.  I can attest that one of the worst things a hospital can do is hook up a freaked out wastoid to an EKG machine so he can hear the buzzers and bells thus making his heart race even more, the nurse gave me a motherly smile and told me to relax and that the doctor would be in shortly, i was left alone and had i not been so freaked out i would have probably been questioning my insurance coverage, thinking it wasn't that good so if i kicked it while the nurse was out no big deal, needless to say i sat there burping and breathing and trying to relax and then the doctor came in...

He was the usual scruffy intern type just not as handsome as the ones who do his job on television, he listened and nodded and stared up towards the ceiling, he pressed on my belly and nodded some more before taking the stethoscope out of his ears and announcing to all within earshot that i was going to live, at least for the time being he said and then he began to quiz me on my diet, asking me what i had eaten and what i ate, asked me how much booze i drank and what type, ignored the drugs i had copped to ingesting in the last few days and proceeded to tell me that if i wanted to end up back in this ER but in a lot worse shape that i had better get my shit together a little bit.  After explaining to him that my nightly meal often consisted of booze and weed and anything that could be bought at the bar or on the walk home or what one might call "food" in the loosest of terms, my breakfast was not much better, usually a coffee, a bottle of orange acid aka orange juice, a doughnut or sausage roll depending on the level of hangover and lunch whichever fast food place i thought wouldn't make me shit myself, there was the diet of a North Oakland Player, who said i wasn't living high on the hog?

The doctor sat back and soaked this all in and both he and the motherly nurse who had gotten me set up in this room (and shaved my chest) stood there with the slightest of smirks, the doctor then explained that my fake heart attack was really my stomach rebelling at all the shit i had done to it, creating a burbling brew of gas and acid that pushed up and mimicked a heart attack, he then ordered something to be brought in and told me that there was this stuff called fiber and these things called vegetables and that i should start eating the damn things, i nodded thoughtfully barely hearing a word but thinking more about the fact that i was gonna fucking LIVE! sure i'd work on the whole eating healthy thing but i wasn't gonna fucking die!! at least not today, shit i'd even be home early cuz fuck going back to work i needed a nap after all this excitement... the nurse brought me my paper cup of green liquid and i slugged it down and within 10 minutes i was feeling like my old self again, within half hour  i was back in the gray afternoon and walking back towards my apartment, the city air filling my lungs, i made a quick stop at the warehouse to tell the boss i'd be in tomorrow and off i went, my mattress on the floor never felt so fucking good...

Lying there in the gray afternoon, the radio playing, my room a warm cocoon, i drank some water and plotted a trip to the supermarket, i thought about the ER staff and the good laugh they were having at the tall, scruffy guy who was attempting to burn a hole in his stomach, i wondered if they were placing bets on when they'd see me again, i told myself they wouldn't and swore of the gear for good, discipline man i thought to myself, and yes it would be the last time i'd smoke that shit, i got up and ripped a binger,  it was time to get in a well earned sleep in before getting back to the business at hand... and get back to it i would...

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Blue Dream

The youngest boyo lost his first front tooth last week and the next day i sat in my car on the tree lined streets of suburbia and wiped tears from my eyes, i am prone to courageous bouts of melancholia, nothing clinical or requiring medication but more an acute awareness of this human condition and all that it entails...

That house next door that now serves as a motel to the shack builders of the Appalachians once belonged to a fat old woman, she had lived there with her husband and two sons, one of which now uses the house as a motel for his construction crews, the other of which showed up in the wee hours of the night in the spring of 1989  and began beating his parents with a baseball bat before pulling out a knife and stabbing them as well, the old newspaper clipping showed the house looking much like it does now, her husband crawled out of the house and collapsed in the yard where he died, the now old woman was beaten and battered but survived... her son drove himself into the city where he found a nice high train trestle with some concrete underneath and did a swan dive...

I always wondered why she didn't sell the place the next fucking day... i wondered and wondered, someone said she was attached to the place, strangely she may have been, i tend to think it was more a fuck you to the neighbors, a reminder that all was not well in Charmin-land, to the clucking hens and their henpecked roosters, the suburbs can be a cruel and unforgiving place, the level of righteousness expanding and contracting like some warped galaxy depending on whose daughter is pregnant and whose son is on smack, the whispers would have started before the ambulance even pulled away, i only ever saw her a handful of times, we'd smile and wave...

Some days (most) i take to the medicine early, names like Blue Dream or Dutch Treat take the edge off the chirping of soccer moms and ease the creak in the knees, i daydream my way through cups of green tea and sides of records, i build stone walls and haul dirt, i break rocks in a zen exercise of creating back fill, i climb ladders and clean gutters and sit atop my roof and watch the angle of the sun like some landlocked lunatic sailor waiting for the siren strippers call, sometimes a groundhog will watch or a deer will stroll by, i wonder about things, sometimes i just sit on the roof and think, the clucking hens are probably hoping i'll jump, that's a week's worth of gossip, little do they know i might just be too stoned to get down... and i am no better than these mannequins in mini-vans or their suit wearing breadwinners, i let them see only what i want, they see rock and roll and a laissez-faire disposition to the things they hold dear like church or work,  they do not know the back story, they don't need to, i'm practically an  upstanding citizen these days...

This spring it will be thirty years from that first joint, i took  my first drink on a Monday afternoon and that Friday i took my first toke, Nike Site park, what was once an old missile site during the Cold War, two friends and i smoking up in front of the metal playground rocket on springs that bounced and shook, each of us asking, "you feeling anything?", fucking rubes, had you told me then the role that plant would play in my life i wouldn't have believed you....

But back in the burbs the pumpkins have been carved...  my old city neighborhood a memory now, dominated by luxury condos and Hyatt Hotels, the masters are even gonna gentrify the poor white people out of their own hood, to paraphrase Mr. Marx, money is the opiate of the masters, accumulation is their addiction, out here in the lily-white we shop and knit our brows and leave carbon footprints and fret about the state of things but we really don't give a shit, as long as the duvet matches the curtains and the hedges are all trimmed, as long as our daughters aren't knocked up and our sons all strung out, we'll suffer our first world problems with a stiff upper lip, the hardships oh the hardships, it's both a crime and a shame that my cats live better than some people, what does that say about me? that i like cats more than people? i probably do but that still doesn't absolve me from being an asshole...

And i am quite enamored of the silence in my suburban hood on a Monday afternoon, the sound of rustling leaves and a trickling of traffic, barely a soul to be found, house upon house and the streets devoid of people, these days i haul stone to the backyard and fill in patches, i dig and rake and grade and pour the stones and grade and rake again, the only witnesses are the birds and deer and chipmunks, sometimes i look at the house next door, i think about what it was like back in 1989, i believe it probably looked much like the house i had grown up in, the one that would crumble less than three years later, sometimes i think the fat old woman would sit at her kitchen table drinking tea, sometimes she'd be smiling, sometimes she'd be wiping tears from her eyes, sometimes she'd be staring and wondering what the fuck it all meant...


Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Wilderness Years- Hazardous Chemicals pt. 3

Chalk it up to being incredibly lucky or stupid or quite possibly both, my new favorite past time was sitting in my garbage-picked, cracked vinyl, baby puke yellow chair, at my equally shitty little wooden desk, the one with the word processor atop it gathering dust, the word processor that was gonna be used to write the Magnum Opus, the one that would one day be dipped in gold and placed in a museum or West Virginia casino lobby, and it was there that i would make my gear, it was also here that i could be periodically found naked from the waist down and attempting to rub one out while smoking coke because in my blissfully heightened state of pleasure seeking shall we say, i concluded that nothing would be better than exhaling a hit and busting a nut at the exact same time, an act i believe if it could actually be achieved (which my own very unscientific study deemed impossible), could tear the very fabric of the space/time continuum, but of course that episode has been covered and so we'll move along now...

This new past time usually involved me listening to Sublime records for some reason, it was late 96/ early 97 and all us kids thought it was really neat stuff, beachy-reggae-ish-white boy drug shit, no one has accused me of having fucking taste oh but taste i thought i had, needless to say it's strange how certain music will stick with you and remind you of the days spent doing the things you did when you listened to those songs, and so the ritual of making rock usually involved Sublime, as the ritual of snorting smack involved listening to the Dirty Three, those fucking rituals again, the ritual of acid usually involved the music of Manchester's many beloved sons, shrooms called for Jane's Addiction, and the Velvet Underground could be listened to with any or all substances because they are the fucking VU, easy enough! And everything seemed to be just hunkyfuckindory, or at least as hunkyfuckingdory as shit can be when you spend a good deal of your time fucking wrecked out of your skull...

And then there is modern chemistry and all those amateur pharmacists who give you all sorts of smart advice and then just so happen to have what you need for sale, like say Valium or Xanax, guaranteed to take the edge off or help you get to sleep or placate you when you didn't have the cash to blow on rocking it up... friendly advice i believe it's called... taken with a grain of salt it could be deemed somewhat useful just don't take it to heart cuz that shit could be fatal, i didn't need to be a Wallenda to prance upon the tightrope i was doing a right fine job on my own...and then one day i had an epiphany... or what alcoholics refer to as a moment of clarity, but it was enough to get my dumbass attention...

It was a brisk and sunny afternoon the day i rolled up to Hippie Jack's house and parked my roomies car in the shady industrial dry cleaner parking lot, they had closed for the day and i had managed to roust Hippie Jack up out of bed at the wee hour of 5pm, he was cranky and acting pissed and then he pulled out his plate and pipe and took a huge hit and faster than i could say "crackpipemotherfucker" he became a new man, his Jones had been fixed, the itch scratched, it was then that he handed the shit to me and i took a big hit and for the first time since i'd fucked with the stuff i thought "oh shit", like a bad scene out of Fear and Loathing i was walking a fine line of fucking myself good, the heart pounding, i took a few deep breathes and splashed some water on my face, it suddenly struck me that if  had i held that hit a little longer or inhaled a little deeper i would have been proper fucked, and if i was lucky, i would have been dragged out to the pay phone at the corner, the one right below the walkway over the busy boulevard and hopefully Hippie Jack would call 911 and ask for an ambulance before hauling ass back to his house where he'd lock the doors or better yet start hightailing it to the local bar, that was just how shit worked, i wasn't gonna be his boy if i was a corpse... soon enough the shit began to taper off as it does and i was thanking my lucky stars, grabbing my shit and walking to the car, i had just dodged a bullet, i didn't want to admit it but i did...

So that moment of clarity, okay maybe it wasn't competely clear but on that drive home i swore off the fucking rock for life, scared straight, at least for a little while, i still had some gear back at my place, rocked up and ready to go, i should have flushed it but i couldn't, i put it away and got back to the business at hand, dealing and partying, what's a little bit of mortality when you're immortal, ain't nothing but a thing, but it wasn't lost on me about Hippie Jack, he was getting heavy into some bad shit, i was right there fucking with him until that hit but now i was re-thinking things and it struck me that it might be time to put out some feelers as to new connections, it's a rough fucking gig this one, here i am hoping the Hippie drags me out of his place and calls an ambulance if my heart explodes and here i am plotting my strategy in case he fucks things up on his end, i always had people coming up to me and telling me about the sweetheart deals they could get or they knew a guy who knew a guy who knew a guy and shit like that, Hippie Jack and i had been on this run for over eighteen months or so, it seemed longer, it felt longer but that was it, i had come to rely on the cash flow, i was saving money but i needed this income, it was how i survived, take it away and i was fucking broke or worse... and then came the day i walked to the ER... to be continued...




Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Wilderness Years - Hazardous Chemicals pt. 2

Looking back on this time the most telling sign of my almost certifiable insanity was this... it was all fucking cool cuz i was only 26, you understand why right? that i was 26 and not 27? because at the time i thought the 27th year of my life would be the most dangerous 365 days i'd ever have to live through, the age of Morrison, Joplin, Hendrix, and Cobain when they died, not that i was all that into any of those people but what i was into was believing my ass was some wasted genius and the last thing i wanted to do was off myself before informing the world of what a genius i was, i wasn't delusional or anything now was i? of course not just look at the popularity of the lounge for the last decade or so, what a fucking numb nut...

And so began a pattern of erratic and risky behavior... imagine that? what ever could have led me to do stupid and dangerous things? there are whole cell blocks filled with motherfuckers like me, i was just lucky and they were not, i had begun to violate one of my own rules which was to learn from the mistakes of the guys around me and don't repeat them and here i was walking merrily along the same path as Hippie Jack, rolling around fucked out of my gourd with enough grass to get me a decent stretch in county or state, this was the mid-90's when the Slick Willie fella was putting more people in jail for grass than any president before or since, not to mention grass usually wasn't the only thing John Q. Law would have found on me in those days if he just so happened to have me cuffed and rifled through my pockets... but i was invincible, what the fuck did i have to worry about...

Now what exactly constitutes a drug problem? not having any? well of course that's always a problem but what is the equation? what are the numbers that when plugged in and tallied up equal to a serious habit? most of the time it's money that presents the problem to the habit but what if you have the money to get what you want? is there even a problem then? the questions pondered when one has finally removed their feet from the fire, and so it goes that maybe what i really qualified as was a functional basehead, i was still going to work and making the rent so what was the problem? none far as i could tell...

Some days i'd wake up and take a hit first thing, on the days i didn't do that i'd walk the city block home for lunch and smoke up and go back to work, the whole time believing no one could tell, sometimes i'd stop home on my work deliveries and fire up, sometimes i'd stop at Hippie Jack's on my work deliveries and smoke up, the whole process of mixing up a new batch became my new favorite ritual, at the time i was listening to a lot of Sublime, their singer/guitarist Brad Nowell was another guy dead at 27, still i was only 26, i remember returning to the warehouse one fall afternoon, a grey and shitty day, i had gotten back five minutes late, everyone else had punched out except one of the indie rock kids i worked with, a bass player, he took one look at me and laughed then told me that i looked fucked out of my gourd, i was, i dropped off the keys and grabbed my shit and ran home to smoke more, it was Friday fucking night after all...

If ever an example could be made for how absolutely fucking wonderful the brief moment of exhaling cocaine and baking soda out of your lungs could be (of course it could also kill you) it was this one afternoon spent at Hippie Jack's place with two young ladies... Angela was tall and thin and looked well on her way to any number of drug habits but her friend Ursula was sex and drugs and rock and roll, she was a stripper of course, tiny with big boobs and long curly blond ringlets, even through the rock she could practically give you a hard-on which is saying something, i happened to roll over one fine late afternoon to re-up and found Jack and these two lovelies sitting there with a big old plate of rocks in front of them, Hippie Jack was forever trying to get laid and so was playing the gracious host/ hot shot player part, he introduced me and it was there that Ursula realized she knew me, the father of her twins, a kid who cooked in a bar with my roommate had scored grass off me and she had once met me briefly in passing, it was a busy night and her man was summoned back to my chambers while she hung out in the living room with my roommates and various other customers, Jack chimed in that i was his #1 mover, a comment designed to show the ladies who the boss was and who they should be thinking about sleeping with, poor guy had no idea the girls were here to get as much free gear as the could, buy a little more, and then get out as graciously and expeditiously as possible...

And so i entered the fray and they all moved over and i sat down and Jack and i got business done quick and then we got down the to real business of smoking coke, the pipe went around and as soon as Charles took hold it was a free-for-all motormouth gab fest, i immediately set about tossing subtle hints at Ursula that i would be a marvelous fuck all while trying to remain cool, of course as the pipe went around again and the motormouth gab fest ratcheted up i realized that i could care less about banging either one of these girls and that what i really wanted was the fucking pipe... you see every time someone got it they suddenly launched into some assinine story, it was like Bilbo's ring, once the precious precious was in your hand you felt free to yap away knowing that the next hit would be yours, all the while the other three would sit and fidget and wait and give the "you gonna hit that or talk all day" motion until finally after a few rounds of that we just got to the point of saying to each other, take the hit and then talk, or more blatantly, just hit the fucking thing and pass the pipe, we all wanted to fuck that pipe, we could care less about the other people in the room, had one of us keeled over it wouldn't have been shocking to hear applause and someone say, good one less fucking asshole i have to listen to, then the flick of a lighter and the smell of basehead dreams...

Oh what magical times they were, now and again it dawns on me and that old no one here gets out alive theme comes popping back into my head, none of us do, some of us just manage to enjoy the ride a little longer, my new roommate used to let me drive his Plymouth Fury over to the Hippie's place sometimes, mainly cuz i was the Alpha Dog and he didn't want to wait in the dry cleaner parking lot next to the Hippie Jack's apartment, so he began letting me take his car, it was on one of these trips, after smoking some shit, i came blasting down the street trying to make the red light in this fucking old metal beast of an auto, i was going fast enough that i didn't even attempt the turn i needed to make but blew straight through a solid red light to the cacophony of car horns and screamed expletives, there was two pounds of grass on the seat next to me and pocket full of rocks in my jeans, i eased the breaks of the beast and slowed down and took a deep breath and laughed like Mark Renton, fucking lucky bastard, things were going swimmingly... to be cont...



Sunday, October 16, 2016

Keep him off the Lager

the art of living boils down to having the means to satisfy one's whims, the extent and expense of those whims depends on the individual, the effort and energy involved to satisfy said whims will also vary, the percentage of grift to graft being of utmost importance, with the grift trumping the graft for reasons obvious to those not playing in the straight world and oblivious to the ones in the other...


Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Wilderness Years - Hazardous Chemicals

"Pills and powders baby powders and pills..." ah yes kids where were we? back to the grind? a full year in the books and Hippie Jack and i were rolling right along... how good were we rolling? like low-level kingpins which in the larger scheme of things amounted to jack shit, we were making the rent and staying wasted and i for one was overpaying on the student loans and stashing money in a little safe... somehow Jack was doing well enough to branch out into the blow business, of course Hippie Jack was always branching out into something, his steady was grass but he was on old Deadhead so i never asked a lot of questions, it was always a swell surprise when i showed up and he was doling out mushrooms or acid or Xanax bars or Valium, the latter two at one point sending me into a phase were i'd often piss myself from being so fucked up, fucking lovely innit? i just didn't give a fuck, of course i probably should have, the mixing of large quantities of booze and mother's little helpers may not have been the wisest choice, but fuck it, we were young! so we raised our glasses high!

And thus began in earnest what will go down as the first powder phase... the brown had been around since my last summer at the beach, all the junkie kids in North Oakland couldn't understand why i wasn't hooked but i would explain to them that it was all down to discipline and respect for the Mother Superior, her sister Charlie i had no fucking respect for, and that dirty little slag would come back and bite me right on the ass, oh but isn't that the way, it's what we fear and respect the least that locks it's jaws and begins swallowing before we even realize it... before you knew it i was picking up little packages for myself when i would re-up, that was the only time i would get it unless one of my roomies needed a favor, of course if i got for them i'd usually grab something for me, and then one day it happened, my trips to Hippie Jacks were now sometimes bi- or tri-weekly that 's how swell things were going and it was on one of those trips that i stopped by and noticed a plate with a bunch of little white rocks on it, what's that? i said... Freebase! he smiled...

Technically there's no difference between freebase and crack other than the name, some cultural bias, and how good the shit is, Hippie Jack made sure to stress that from the get go... Crack, he opined, is shit man, it's all baking soda and bullshit, it's a ghetto thing, (as we sat in his shitty apartment sitting on the edge of the ghetto), but freebase! well hell that's the good shit, the brothers don't know what they're missing, (i'm pretty sure the brothers gear was just fine), i make this shit myself so i know how good it is, it's simple he cackled... and like the fucking spaceman i was i grinned and asked, can i try it?

Fucking years back (2010?) i wrote a piece about this era, it involved smoking rock and jerking off, imagine that? damn if life ain't funny, of course there wasn't much wanking cuz i was so fucked the chances of me producing a hard-on at the time were akin to me hitting this weekend's Powerball, but let me take you back to that first hit, oh i'm sure it's been described many times before all over the interwebs but fuck all that cuz this is my gig, that first hit may have been better than the first time i ever got laid, if felt that fucking good, dangerously good, on exhale it felt like my whole body just shot the best load ever! holy fucking shit, i just wanted to light a cigarette and smile, of course then it dawned on me that i could do another hit and so i did and boy if that one didn't feel like i just blew another magnificent load out every nerve ending, it was like the door to the  pleasure center of my brain being kicked in, i immediately asked if could buy some and Hippie Jack said sure man and pulled out a scale and tossed some on and scratched his head and came up with a price... i loaded my grass into my backpack and stuffed my "freebase" into my pants pocket and off i went...

The beauty of my life at this time was i didn't think this was anything out of the ordinary, practically everyone in my realm of existence was fucked up on something, sometimes it was booze and drugs, sometimes it was money or sex, sometimes a combination of all the above... the only thing that reminded me there were "normal" people out there was my gig delivering party goods to the unwashed masses, the army of part time housewives/customer service co-workers i'd encounter Monday thru Friday, they'd remind me that the world was not an endless parade of drunks, hookers, junkies, speed freaks, and wannabe rock stars, there was in fact a straight world that still existed though to me it was as far away as the moons of Jupiter, i had no clue where it was or how to get there and that was fine by me...

Of course being the lazy fucker i am i was continually hitting up Hippie Jack for his pre-made rock every time i stopped by and between business and pleasure that seemed to be quite a bit, i probably should have noticed that Jack was much more irritable than he used to be and was sometimes still sleeping when i called to make my run, he still answered when he heard my voice, when the meal ticket calls you get the fuck out of bed and handle shit, still he was getting tired of selling me his rock mainly because he wanted it all to himself, i figured i was doing him enough favors that selling me some of his ready made shit was nothing more than a little bonus but old Jack wasn't having it and so he insisted on selling me his coke instead and then teaching me how to make the shit myself, of course i'd still bum a hit or two when i stopped by, the main worry was fucking up the recipe and blowing my wrap of blow...

And so one fine fall afternoon Jack sat me down and explained the process step by step with the wrap i had just bought, he grabbed his spoon, a small plate, an ice cube, some baking soda, and a pack of matches, he explained how you dropped some water on the spoon and added the baking soda which was the bonding agent for the coke and prevented it from dissolving in the water, it was a cracked-out Mr. Wizard showing the boy dumb-ass how to be as fucked up as he was, he showed me how to cook it up and stir it around to make the little white sticky balls, how you used the whole pack of matches to burn off the water and leave the residue on the spoon which was then placed on the ice cube to help expedite the process, how let it dry for an hour if you could manage to keep your hands off it that long, and i'll admit i never got my method down as good as his, i guess i shouldn't to upset though, it may have been a really good thing to be below average at... to be continued...


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Crystal Shit

(once again Mr. Osterberg)
It's fucking odd when i say it out loud but some 23 odd years ago i graduated from a second rate university with a degree in Communications and three job opportunities to go work in the lush filled and drug-addled world of advertising, the creative side not the sales shit, of course as the legend has it here at the lounge our fine and noble derelict turned down those opportunities so he (i) could, and i quote, "go surf and write poetry...", the look of befuddlement on my professor's face was fucking priceless, the talking heads back then kept telling us ambitious new grads the job market in '93 wasn't what they sold us kids a few years before and so many of my fellow alumni would be moving home with mom and dad and the like, fucking interviews were like gold and here i was turning down three so i could go surf and write fucking poesy? you shitting me? i must have been a top fucking knob... of course it was easily one of the best decisions i've made in my life, no one will ever convince me that i would have learned more jetting off to Chi-town or Portland than i did over the next four months in OC-MD, but much of that's been covered and if you'd like to read it go to the third stall down, sit on the toilet and look to your left, it's written in black magic marker...

Crystal Shit was the name of a Doors cover band in the Dead Milkmen song Bitchin' Camaro, tossed off loosely in a spoken word intro before the shit kicks in, i don't know if the band in the song really existed or if it was made up or what, fucking stoner here can't delve that deep apparently, but i do know that way back when, in my last year of undergrad we got this assignment in our advanced advertising class to make up a campaign for a product that wasn't on the market yet, what did i get? fucking Crystal Pepsi... so imagine my surprise when one sunny afternoon after a few tokes over the line with sweet Jesus, whilst perusing the carbonated beverage section looking for a bottle of cream soda, that i espied a bottle of what looked like hand sanitizer labeled Crystal Pepsi!  i believe i let slip an audible guffaw, the fucking shit was a disaster the first time around, is the bastion of capitalist culture in such a free fall that not only do we do nothing but remake old movies but now, now, we're recycling fucking soda ideas?  but there it was, the failed product that had procured me three chances at a career in advertising, a situation in which my prof had told me i'd be taking my pick cuz she had sent them all of my work for her class, including my coup de grace known as the Crystal Pepsi campaign, i used to joke that if Pepsi would have used that campaign you'd still be drinking the shit, and it was shit, the reality was they could have paid people to drink it and it still would have failed, it was that bad...

Now let us take Mr. Peabody's time machine back to 1993,  the whole angle of my campaign, which i remember but have not a scrap of the actual work, centered on the whole rise of alterna-culture and it's new found love of eastern Mysticism, or hippie shit, just this hippie shit was re-branded and repackaged to sell to the children of the hippies, there was a whole crystal craze going on back then and every half-ass hippie punker grunge kid had one, usually on a thin leather rope and different colors meant different shit and they were like fucking magic or something, maybe mined by elves for all i know, of course my hipster ass wore one for a year or so, probably had it on when i wrote the fucking ads, which used a character who looked more than coincidentally like Mahatma Gandhi who was of course selling you Crystal Pepsi, fucking hell if you're gonna whore yourself out for the dollar you might as well take down a cultural and spiritual icon with you, my protagonist leaned Hindu but may have been Buddhist, the radio spot was made tapping out a beat with some drumsticks and a few glasses filled with varying levels of water all while affecting an Indian accent and selling you Crystal Shit... and according to my prof i was just the kind of fucking weirdo the ad world was looking for...

The professor who had arranged all this was a woman with thick curls of snow white hair, rumor had it she had been a nun and left the church because she was now a lesbian, fucking college kids and their imaginations, fact was she was one of the more straight-laced profs in the Comm. department, rather bland and boring and not much fun, unlike my PR teacher who was a roaring drunk who wrote poesy and drove around in a new (for 93) bright yellow, convertible VW bug, that gem had worked at US Steel and told brilliant fucking stories in class all which somehow related back to the business of public relations, a business he thought unequivocally was nothing more than bullshit (he had won the highest award you can win in the field of bullshit), better yet if you ever wanted to find him it was easy, he sat at the Loomis Bar from the start of happy hour until he couldn't walk... but back to the lady, she had me in her office and was pitching me the job interviews, she was also asking if she could make copies of my work to show future classes and really what did i care? show 'em i said, and then she asked me how i wrote my stuff and came up with ideas, i laughed and said you don't want to know, she said she did, i told her she really didn't but she pressed on, finally i said, okay if you really want to know, i drink one 40oz. bottle of finely chilled malt liquor and smoke a joint and by the time they're both gone my projects are done, there was a stunned silence and then she said, you're right... i didn't want to know...

And all this sorta ran through my head as i stood in the store gazing at the bottles of Crystal Pepsi, all lined up like gaudily attired soldiers from some banana republic, a shit-eating grin adorning my mug, i stood there and whispered, "thank you weed and booze and acid, thank you mushrooms and pills and laughing gas, if not for you and my love of getting fucked up i might have gone on those interviews, i might have gotten one of those jobs, what a horrible thing to do to myself, instead i got fucked up and bedded women and read books and listened to the ocean..." it all could have gone so pear-shaped, i could have been a whore for products or gimmicks or political ideas, selling useless shit to the vacant souls of suburban housewives everywhere, and now me myself that same suburban housewife, albeit it in cut off work pants and still wearing my sunglasses in the store cuz i'm so stoned, slipping into what the local news anchors call suburban eccentricity...

Mr. Byrne, how did i get here" of course it's easy to read the map backwards, it's the forward part that's the bitch, mainly because there is no map until you've already passed the point on the blank piece of canvas, then it sort of fills in, i like looking at that map late at night, i roll it out in front of me on the ceiling, there are definitive points now, like what if i had finished shaving Audrey's snizz then eaten the rest of the acid and went to the JP and got married that morning so many years ago? there's an obvious divergence in the path had i done that, of course now it's all conjecture and daydreams of a map that shows places that i'll never go, walking away from a real job to surf and write poesy? funny i don't ever think about what would have happened had i landed a straight gig, i think about the choice though, of course i don't think i made the wrong one, no fucking sir-ee Bob, and all of this brought on by the sight of a carbonated abomination, oddly enough it was Sept. 23, 1993 when i finally left the beach that summer, a month or so of homeless drifting on the horizon, and then deeper into the Wilderness...