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Ink And Tampons

Posted by jeresk on October 28, 2012 in It's Everybody's Fault I'm A Drug Addict |

It’s incredible…  You can be jobless, homeless, worthless, and everything-less in the world and still find a way to get dope when you really want it.  There are a million ways I found to score…  And if I couldn’t think of something, there was always another clever junkie out there that could find a way for me.  I went to Paul’s shack to see if he would be willing to lend me a small bag for the next few days and I’d find a way to pay him back.  Paul was in his late 50’s, maybe early 60’s (or life just hadn’t treated him so kindly).  He had a little place set up that looks like it used to be a mechanics shop.  He would often let me hang out while people were cooking – I would help and get some shit for free.  I never really learned how to cook.  At the time, it’s all I wanted to learn.  This was the 90’s and you could still pick up most everything you needed at a few grocery and hardware stores around the valley.  If you had the equipment, time, and knowhow for a couple hundred bucks you could make thousands of dollars worth of bathtub crank…  If you were a little better, you could make even more with a cleaner form close to ice…

Paul laughed – in his half-century he learned a lesson I never took to very well – never trust a junkie.  When he had extra he’d share – sometimes he’d buy things with the mountains of dope, but never ever in a million years would he say “ok – I trust you!”  I mean, come on – we were all junkies.  Let’s pretend for just a moment that he did give me a bag – big or small…  Let’s also pretend just for a moment that when I said, “I’ll pay you back” I meant every word.  Now fast forward and let’s pretend I actually had the money a few days later to pay him back.  Well guess what?  I’d also most likely be out of dope.  As a dope-hound, do you think I’d use the last bit of money that I had to pay him back?  Or would I go find someone who I didn’t owe any money to and re-up?  I mean, we’ve all seen the movies where the junkie owes a ton of different people and it all catches up to them, right?  He knew this all even better than I knew it at the time.  I was sure that I was a “solid” junkie.  I was honest!  I was a good guy!  I never cheated anyone – well, except those 367 times last year – but those were emergencies, and the fuckers deserved it – because they were not honest junkies…

But yes – Paul knew me better than I knew what I believed my self was.  But he had a plan.  Actually he had a friend who had a plan and needed a partner in crime.  The deal was, he would give me a massive bump that evening and let me hang for the night.  The next morning his friend would be over and wanted to buy a ton of shit from him and he wanted the money – but his friend’s plan needed a partner.  So I’d get a big hit and then the next evening he’d be willing to pay me with a larger bag for my hard day’s work.  I didn’t bother to ask what the plan was – it didn’t matter.  I was getting high.  I got the hit and it was tasty – I was blasted all night and ready to do whatever it was I needed to do to get more.  Paul introduced me to Rodney (I think)

Rodney (?) was a fat guy.  This probably doesn’t seem odd – but honestly it’s rare to see a fat meth addict.  He had a thick red beard and plaid shirt and a thick truckers grip handshake.  He told me to get in to SUV and he’d explain the plan to me.  I got in the car ready to hear what amazing idea this guy had.  If it was really good, maybe I could run this as my own side biz – or maybe if it always worked we could be partners and I would never go thirsty again.

He started talking about himself.  I don’t know why – but every junkie when meeting another junkie has the propensity of trying to explain what a junkie they are not.  He told me he had a good job, a wife, kids, and a house – the works.  He just liked to get some here and there and wouldn’t dream of actually using any of the money he needed to pay the bills and put food on his table to buy dope – so every now and then he’d run this scam – get enough for his “occasional usage,” which would last for months and then he’d come back and do it again.  It was important that we hit as many stores as we could this very day because he only did this once every couple of months.  He’d by ounces of the stuff, and parse that out for the next several months.  I tried to act as interested as I could, but honestly I just wanted to know what the fuck he wanted me to do.  Were we going to rob a bank?  Was I the get-a-way driver?  Were we going to knock over a liquor store?  Whatever it was I just wanted it to be over so I could get my bag and be done with Mr. Red.

“Here’s what we do – can you shoplift?”  Christ – Really?  That’s the big plan?  We’re going to be shoplifters?  And then what?  Sell the goods downtown to passers by like peddlers?  Lame…  I thought this was going to be something good.  And so I was honest with him – “No…  I’m horrible.”  I’d never really got in trouble for shoplifting – at least since I was in the 6th grade – but really – I was a horrible liar, and when I’d shoplift, I knew I looked guilty.  Then I’d try and hide how guilty I felt I looked by acting natural.  The problem was – I was well aware of the fact that in trying to act natural, I would act overly natural, which would then make me look about 1000 times more guilty – I would then realize this fact and go overboard trying to make up for it.  A nice clerk would be like, “Hello, can I help you find anyth…”  And I blurt out loudly, “WELL HELLO!  IT’S A BEATUIFUL DAY TODAY ISN’T IT!  I SURE HOPE IT ISN’T RUINED WITH SOME STUPID SHOPLIFTERS RIGHT??  I’M ACTUALLY LOOKING FOR…  TAMPONS.  YES.  TAMPONS FOR MY GIRLFRIEND…  AUNT FLO HAS COME TO TOWN AND BOY IS SHE PISSED!  HA HA!  YOU PROBABLY KNOW WHAT THAT’S LIKE BETTER THAN I DO!  HA HA!  CAN YOU BELIEVE I PEOPLE ACTUALLY SHOPLIFT IN THIS DAY AND AGE?  IT’S SO SAD!!!  WELL, I BETTER GET THOSE TAMPONS!  PLUG THE OL’ GAL UP YOU KNOW!?  HA HA…  ANYWAY, GET SOME OF THOSE STUPID SHOPLIFTERS FOR ME, WILL YA?”

I know you may think I’m kidding – but really – that’s about what would happen…  I am a horrible, HORRIBLE shoplifter…

He said, “Ok, no problem – I’m pretty good…  I’m going to give you $40, we’re going to head to Office Max (or Staples, or whatever office supply store we went to…).  You are going to walk in and find the printer cartridges.  They cost about $40 – just find one that you’ll have enough for, but don’t pick it out yet!  Just go in and find one that’s like $35…  Then just hang out and wait for me to show up – after I get there, you don’t know me.  But once you see me, get the cartridge and head up to the counter and buy it.  Make sure you get a receipt.”  Uhh…  What?  So my part in this is I go in and purchase a printer cartridge?  Wow!  This guy’s a genius…  How the hell does he make money off of buying cartridges?  I followed his instructions – found a printer cartridge and stood there for a few minutes.  He turned the corner and smiled and nodded the friendly, “Hey!  I don’t know you, but I’m going to smile and nod” gesture.  I picked up a cartridge and went up to the counter and bought the cartridge.  I walked out the door and walked to 3 parking lots away where he had parked, got in the car and gave him the bag feeling really stupid and still not really understanding what happened.  He took the bag and the receipt and handed me back the cartridge and said, “Now – go tell them you need to return it.  They will ask for the receipt, but tell them you threw it away, or must have dropped it.  Just make sure you talk to the same checkout person.  Since she JUST sold it to you, she’ll take it back if you press her.  Just tell her just got a call or something that you didn’t need it – or it wouldn’t fit or whatever.”  This is stupid…  I still didn’t get it, but followed his instructions.  As he stated, I got next to no hassle about not having the receipt because the girl had JUST sold it to me.  She gave me back the cash and I shoved it in my back pocket and walked again back out to the car.

We then drove off – and went to different location – he said, “Now – do the same thing with the money you have.”  So I again went back in and waited, but this time I heard him talking to someone – he was at the returns counter chatting away – I stayed where I was, and waited for him.  A few minutes later he was back in the isle, I picked up a cartridge and bought it and met him back in the truck.  He again took the bag and the receipt and told me to go return it – I did, and again got no trouble – I went back and said, “I don’t get it – what the hell am I doing?”  Now you, gentle reader, may have already picked up the whole scam, but I was slow.  I didn’t really care what I was doing because this appeared to have no risk for me, but it seemed like he was just collecting receipts.  So in case you, like I, are not catching on – here’s how he explained it:

“Ok so you bought a cartridge and returned it – right?  But I got the receipt.  You wait for me to get in the isle so I can see what one you are buying – then I lift the same one.  You return yours and there are no questions asked – then we go to a different location and I return the stolen one with a receipt and we just doubled our money!  Then I say I’m going to try and find the one that actually fits, right?  You pick up another and I steal another – but as I walk out the door I let them know I couldn’t find the one I needed.  They are not suspicious of why I walked in and walked out.  They are not suspicious of you, because you paid for your item and are just returning it.  All the time, I just keep getting receipts I can return stolen ones for and every time we do we double our money!  Printer cartridges are kinda pricy, but rarely watched because who steals them?  People try and steal more expensive things like software, or electronics – but ink?  Nobody cares!  We can even go with some more expensive cartridges as long as they are still small enough to tuck in my waistband.”

Holy shit… He was a genius!!  This was a great plan!  And I never felt scared, and he was a very cool customer.  We had gone from place to place and got several hundred dollars racked up by this time.  We got to the next store and while I was waiting in the checkout line I started to feel a little funny.  “God I’m thirsty…”  It was pretty hot out – this was July in Utah which often goes over 100 and I realized it had been a while since I’d eaten or really had anything to drink.  Pretty quickly I realized I was feeling really weird.  I saw the endcap of the impulse items had drinks, so I grabbed a coke.  I twisted off the top and took a huge drink.  I was next in line and ready to be back in the car – I really wanted to sit down.  I don’t know what is going on but, damn – I took another big swig – I had an extra dollar with me so I’d just pay for it when I got the cartridge.  The thirst wouldn’t leave.  My throat was dry and my head started to swim a little.  God, I really wasn’t feeling very… “HELLO! HELLO!  OH MY GOD!  HELLO??”  I opened my eyes.  What the fuck?  Why am I on the floor?  What happened?  Where am I?  I was so confused…  I sat up, totally dazed, and saw the printer cartridge.  Everything came flooding back, and the cashier and the nice guy in front of me (who apparently caught me on the way down) were chuckling nervously…  “So.. Ha ha, are you ok?  What happened?”  “I have no idea,” I said.  I kind of laughed with them, “I wasn’t feeling very good, I thought I was just thirsty!  I guess it’s hotter than I thought?”   The guy finished up and started to walk out the door.  “Sorry about that!  I didn’t mean to worry you,” I said to the cashier.  “Oh that’s ok sweetie!  I just.. Ha ha, don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone….”  “GET BACK!  GET BACK!  HELLO?  OH MY GOD!  HE DID IT AGAIN!  HELLO!?”  My eyes came open again and this time my head hurt.  Apparently I cracked it pretty good on the floor – it wasn’t bleeding or anything, but it throbbed like a son of a bitch.  I sat up and said, “Gosh!  I’m so sorry I don’t know what…”  “NO NO NO!  You stay down there – here, we’ll get you a chair.”  “Oh!   No no, that’s ok, I…” “NO!  You stay there…  Don’t you move.  Someone is coming to help you, you need to wait here.”  “But I don’t want to,” “Sir, we cannot allow you to leave.  You sit here and don’t move.”  Shit…  Do I have to stay here?  Now I was perfectly clear.  And perfectly scared.  Why weren’t they going to let me leave?  So I passed out a few times?  Could they really keep me there?  I started to stand up and the manager said, “Sorry sir, no – you need to wait here.”  Crap – did they catch me?  Did I pass out and fall into my old habit in my sleep?  I pictured myself laying on the floor asleep saying, “HELLO!  NO TAMPONS HERE AT OFFICE MAX IS THERE?  I’M JUST GETTING A PRINTER CARTRIDGE FOR MY GIRLFRIEND…  SHE’S ON HER RAG HA HA!  BET YOUR THINKING SHE WANTS ME TO GET HER A RED CARTRIDGE, GET IT?  NO – JUST BLACK TODAY – BUT I DO HAVE TO STOP BY THE STORE AND GET HER SOME TAMPONS…  SHOPLIFTERS ARE THE WORST AREN’T THERE?  I BET SOME PEOPLE BUY ONE TIME AND STEAL ONE ITEM JUST SO THEY CAN RETURN ONE TO A DIFFERENT STORE WITH A RECEIPT!  WHAT JERKS THEY ARE, RIGHT?  HA HA!  OFF TO GET SOME TAMPONS!”

Did they know?  Did they figure out what we were doing?  I don’t think they can detain you – but even though my head was clear – it was also flooded with fear and I didn’t feel like arguing with the manager.  Moments later the paramedics came in to the store and said, “Is this the guy?”  I jumped in right away, “Yeah, look – I passed out – it’s hot.  But I’m fine now!  I really just want to go.”  “We really need to look at you – what were you doing before you passed out?  Anything to eat or drink?”  I looked stupidly at the soda I still had in my hand, they gave it to me after they sat me down…  “Yeah, I was feeling thirsty and so I grabbed this drink.  I still need to pay for it.”  The paramedic looked at me like I’d just told him “I don’t know what happened…  I was just drinking this gallon of bleach and all of a sudden I didn’t feel very well…”  He dropped his voice to an almost sing-song tone like he was talking to a small child, “Well…  That’s not very smart!  Didn’t you know there is a lot of sodium in those sodas!  If you are dehydrated, that just makes it worse!”  “oh..” I said, reflecting that he was right to speak to me like a small child by answering like one.  “I didn’t know that…”  He said, “That’s probably what did it!  On a hot day like today you need WATER, boy!  Jeeze!”  In my head I wanted to kick a tampon down his throat, along with his teeth, but I just said, “I’ll remember that… ha ha…”  He kind of adjusted me in the chair so that I was facing him and sitting up a little straighter – “Let’s see here, your eyes look ok – you are responsive, and…”  He turned my wrist skyward and my injection site was still red and bulging, “… and ohhhh…  That’s not good.  What kind of drugs are you using?”  I froze…  “I…. Uh… I don’t use drugs…”  He smirked.  “Yes you do…  And I’m guessing it’s meth.  When was your last shot?”  Fuck…  “I uh… I don’t do that…”  He just shook his head, “I’m not here to bust you – but I need to know when was your last shot.”  FUCK!  “I…  Uh…  I quit.  2 months ago…”  “ no you didn’t – that’s a fresh mark.”  “I know!  But…  I don’t use – I just scratch it a lot – it itches.  I’m clean.”  I stood up – I have to get out of here.  “Sir, I really need you to sit down – we need to have you checked out.”  “NO!”  Oh!  There were my balls – I thought I lost them for a moment…  But I was NOT going to a hospital…  “NO!  I’m fine.  Look, it’s hot – I won’t drink soda anymore – I’ll get some water – I don’t use drugs, but I really have to go…  (where?  To get tampons?)…   Uh, go…  get back to work.  Look, thanks for the help, thanks for the tips – but I really just need to go.”  “Sir, please let us help you.  We are not here to bust you, we just want to help.”  God, just back towards the door – they aren’t cops, they can’t make me stay… “No THANK you.  I really need to go.”  I turned and walked out the door and they just stood there looking a little sad and a little worried.  Before the sliding door closed behind me I heard the lady say, “My God, he seemed so nice – I just thought maybe he was a diabetic or something…”  The paramedic was saying, “We see this all the time – some people you just can’t…” I was gone.  Fuck – such an easy thing and I’d fucked it up and drawn total attention to myself.  I looked for the truck, but it was gone.  I didn’t know where I was going.  Was Mr. Red pissed at me?  Did I get him in trouble?  I was about ¼ mile away when he pulled up and told me to get in the car.  I did.  “What in the fuck happened?  I was already out in the car and then it had been like over 20 min!  I remember there was a line and all but it seemed like you were taking a long time, then the ambulance pulled up and I thought you’d died or something!”  I explained the whole story.  He looked irritated for a moment and then laughed and said, “Well, we won’t be going back to that store again!  They WILL remember you there!”  I felt so dumb…  The easiest scam in the world and I’d fucked it up.  We pulled back into traffic and started to head to what I assumed was the next store – all of a sudden there was a white car that was coming at us from the side – Red hit his horn and brakes screeched and then I felt the impact hit us – not really hard, but enough to jolt me.

He started screaming and pounding his meaty hand on the steering wheel.  “FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK!!!”  We pulled off to the side again, and these kids got out of the little white car.  “Oh Crap!  We’re sorry mister!”  I thought he was going to kill someone, but he calmed down.  We had pulled in front of a small house where an elderly couple came out.  “We heard tires screech!  Is everyone ok!”  The white car had a good dent in the front, but Red’s car was fine.  We searched everywhere for where they hit – and then found a white smudge on the tire.  He kind of laughed, “You apparently ran into my tires!”  The kids looked scared and the old couple said, “Should we call the police?”  Red kind of chuckled and said, “Oh no – I don’t think that’s necessary – you kids ok?”  “Yeah, we’re ok..”  He said, “No need – if everyone’s ok we’ll just be heading out…”  I got in the car and looked over at him as he was crawling back in, “Don’t we have to wait for the police?”  He glared at me and said, “Are you stupid boy?  We are in the middle of running a little scam – we have pipes and needles in the car, you already almost got caught and now you want to have the police get here again?  I’m going to have to explain an accident to my wife which means I have to explain why I was where I was, get in the car, shut the fuck up and I will take care of this.”  Then he turned to everyone, “Thanks everyone!  We’re good if you are!  You are right?”  The kids nodded and he was off.  Ok, at least THIS was not my fault.  He drove about a mile and then pulled over and said, “Get out.”  “What?”  “Get out – you are bad fuckin’ luck boy…  This wasn’t all exactly your fault – but there is just something wrong with you.”  I got out of the car and he took off.  Well crap!  What now!!??  Of course it wasn’t my fault!  I wasn’t even driving!  This wasn’t my idea, it wasn’t my car, it wasn’t anything of my anything!  This was all his doing – can’t drive, can’t deal with life’s little rolls and now I have to go explain to Paul why I still deserve at least a little bag and why his friend can suck on a tampon…

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