The All-Star Junkie Jam
I met him when these guys robbed a pharmacy in Laramie and holed up in a motel on East Colfax, selling the drugs they didn’t want.
They gave me a list of what they would sell: amphetamines, bi-phetamines, Percocet, Percodan, Codeine, Demerol (no real junkie likes Demerol), Seconol, Tuinol, Amutol, Valium, 15 milligram time-release Valium.
I wanted what they wouldn’t sell: morphine ampoules, morphine syringettes, morphine sulfate, dilaudid cough syrup, Oxycontin.
Each time I went there, they hand me a grocery list of what was still available. A .357 magnum sat next to them on the couch. Not under it. On top. Next to the remote. For the cops, if they came by. Wasn’t there to scare me, but it did.
I was their best customer for four days. I got them the cash they needed to drive to Tampa.
Texas John was my best customer. John bought hundreds of Percocet from them through me. Every time he bought one, I got one free. I had a stash of five or six hundred.
Angela and I ate about 25 each day. They didn’t last as long as they could have.
We had a pretty good oxycodone dependence going when we tried boy. John sold it to us. Soon we were his best customers.
Texas John’s girlfriend is named Adella. She’s from Mexico. Adella looks like she’s had a hard life. So does John. Their faces are tired from years of addiction. Most junkies look younger in the face than they are. Not John and Adella.
John’s good with his hands. He can fix his truck and play piano. One evening he invited us over for dinner. Larry was there with his wife Ginger. We had spaghetti and, after, we all fixed.
Three couples spread out across the living room, tying off. There was no wine with dinner. We had methadone in cute little apéritif glasses instead.
I brought a small drum kit with me. Larry brought a practice amp and his bass. John played his upright piano. We jammed. We were so loose, so far back on the beat that the back-beat never came. It was cool. The All Star Junkie Jam. Nothing too fast.
The girls got bored early. They went upstairs and scattered around the living room and nodded off.
When we finished jamming we drifted upstairs. I found Angela in a double-wide S-shaped love seat. She looked dead. She was peaceful, lovely. Her breath was so shallow I could barely detect it.
I curled up next to her. We embraced, forever. Inertly hugging for hours. Breathing her faint perfume, feeling her warm, her soft, the smooth of her face.
We didn’t speak. We didn’t need to.